Southampton are the latest club to register their interest in Neco Williams this summer, which could make the defender the Saints’ seventh transfer from Liverpool during the Premier League-era so far.
Williams is attracting a host of admiring glares from around the top-flight after helping Fulham clinch promotion from the Championship. The Wales star spent the latter half of last term on loan with the Craven Cottage natives as Marco Silva led the west Londoners to the second-tier title with 90 points.
Jurgen Klopp had seldom fielded Williams last term before sanctioning his temporary departure with just eight appearances for 388 minutes. Yet after moving to the capital, the 21-cap dynamo featured 15 times, scored twice and assisted two goals over 1,288 minutes and opened each of his appearances.
Southampton latest club interested in signing Liverpool product Williams
Klopp is again open to letting Williams move away from Liverpool on loan this summer with a raft of clubs interested. The Mirror report the Reds hierarchy have told the Wrexham-born full-back that he is free to agree a loan transfer in order to secure regular playing time ahead of the Qatar World Cup.
Fulham would like to re-sign Williams on loan if the chance arises, but face competition from play-off winners Nottingham Forest. Both believe the defender could help them avoid instant returns to the Championship. Sports Illustrated also note they have each submitted bids of £12-15m with add-ons.
But Sky Sports now claim Southampton have registered their interest after contacting Liverpool over Williams’ situation. PSV Eindhoven are keen on the defender, as well, but the Saints’ intrigue is more serious. Yet Fulham remain the favourites as Williams enjoyed his time under ex-Everton boss Silva.
Williams also has a long-standing relationship and respect for Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper from his time in charge of Liverpool’s academy. While Sky Sports add Liverpool would cash in on the interest surrounding Williams this summer if offers total up to £20m including all potential bonuses.
Southampton stepping up their pursuit to edge interest from Fulham and Nottingham Forest, above all, will make the Liverpool gem their seventh player signed from Anfield in the Premier League-era so far. So, with that in mind, how did the previous six fare after leaving Merseyside for the Saints?
Southampton would want more from Williams than Minamino amid interest in Liverpool gem
Takumi Minamino is the most recent Liverpool player to join Southampton that Williams could now follow amid Ralph Hasenhuttl’s interest. But the Saints would want more from the defender than the St Mary’s natives saw during the midfielder’s loan spell for the second half of the 2020/21 campaign.
Minamino made a sprightly start to his south coast spell after scoring twice in his first three Premier League games. Yet the 27-year-old would not find the net across his following eight outings and did not lay on any assists. He additionally only started nine of 10 outings across a potential 15 matches.
Ings could serve as Williams’ inspiration amid Southampton interest in Liverpool defender
Danny Ings could serve as Williams’ inspiration amid Southampton’s interest for what is achievable on the south coast after leaving Liverpool. The Saints signed the striker for £20m in July 2019 after an initial loan spell at St Mary’s, with Ings going on to strike 46 and create 10 goals over 100 outings.
The 29-year-old also made his return to the international stage five years after his first and only cap until 2020, and scored his maiden goal for England against Wales. Aston Villa additionally paid £25m up to £30m to sign Ings from Southampton last year, despite entering the final year of his contract.
Liverpool product Guthrie sealed short-term Southampton loan move in 2007
Williams only moving to Southampton on loan this summer would see him follow Danny Guthrie as a Liverpool product sealing a temporary spell on the south coast. The Saints hired the midfielder from the Reds for the latter stages of the 2006/07 campaign, during which Guthrie featured in 12 games.
Southampton hoped Guthrie would help them secure promotion out of the Championship, but their efforts fell short in the play-offs. He did score twice in the regular season, though, before making the step up to the Premier League on loan at Bolton in 2007/08 for 25 games before joining Newcastle.
Saints sealed loan swoop for Liverpool midfielder Potter in 2006
Southampton agreed a loan deal with Liverpool for Darren Potter in the January 2006 market for the midfielder to spend the rest of the season on the south coast. He would play 12 times under George Burley before returning to Anfield, but only started nine of his appearances across all competitions.
Walters joined Southampton to seal 1996 Liverpool exit
Mark Walters joined Southampton in January 1996 to seal his exit from Liverpool after loan transfers to Stoke City and Wolves. The Reds had signed the winger from Rangers in 1991 for £1.25m, yet the one-cap England international would fall out of favour as a first-team regular after the 1992/93 campaign.
The Aston Villa product would only stay at Southampton until the end of the 1995/96 season before joining Swindon Town, though. Walters would enjoy three years with the Robins in contrast, and he then spent three years at Bristol Rovers before retiring in 2002 – just five weeks before turning 38.
Southampton agreed first Premier League-era transfer from Liverpool with Grobbelaar
Southampton agreed their first Premier League-era transfer from Liverpool during August 1994 with Bruce Grobbelaar going to the south coast after 13 years on Merseyside. The Reds had brought the Zimbabwean goalkeeper back to England from Canadian outfit Vancouver Whitecaps during 1981.
The unflappable Grobbelaar enjoyed a vastly successful spell at Liverpool with his flamboyant style in goal. He helped the Anfield natives to win six top-flight titles, three FA Cups, three EFL Cups and the ‘83/84 European Cup. But Grobbelaar’s Southampton spell only lasted to August 1996 for 37 games.