Adam Armstrong will return to St James’ Park this Saturday, but not quite how he or we would’ve quite liked.
The West Denton born forward is Southampton’s Danny Ings replacement and has already got off the mark this season, scoring on his Saints debut against who else but Rafa Benitez on the opening weekend.
Selling him in 2018 appeared to be the right move for all parties. He wasn’t getting game time at first team level and needed a new home after a mixed bag of EFL loan spells.
However, we all knew his potential as a lightning quick forward with impressive ball striking and an equally handy record for England at youth level, hence why we inserted a 40% sell-on clause into his contract the summer he sealed a £1.75m move to Blackburn Rovers.
Three years on and 64 goals later, Armstrong has sealed a long-awaited return to the top flight, signing at St Mary’s at the beginning of August in a deal worth a reported £15m.
Now, we may have spent a lot of our budget on a certain Joe Willock, but with our ‘40% discount’, Armstrong’s undoubted potential and our need for another striker in mind, it feels like we’ve made a mistake not bringing him back while we can.
Yes we’ll receive a £6m pay out based on the sell-on fee, however this could have seen us sign him for just £9m in theory – a real bargain that could’ve left Mike Ashley seeing pound signs and us a Geordie striker scoring goals at his boyhood club alongside Callum Wilson.
Instead, we’ll have to hope he doesn’t come back to haunt us this weekend, with Southampton travelling to St James’ Park on Saturday in what promises to be a defining game following both teams’ winless starts to the 2021/22 season.
Armstrong scored at Goodison Park on his debut – sending a message to the man who sold him in Rafa Benitez – and caused havoc in the Saints’ 1-1 draw with Man Utd on Sunday.