Hasenhuttl breaks silence on future of Blackburn target Obafemi

Jason Soutar
Michael Obafemi

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has discussed the future of striker Michael Obafemi amidst interest from Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

The Saints signed Adam Armstrong from Rovers earlier this week in a £15million transfer, and the Championship side are keen on replacing the ex-Newcastle United man with Obafemi.

The 21-year-old is entering the final year of his contract at the Hampshire club and Hasenhuttl admits that there is a chance the Republic of Ireland international could leave this month.

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“The latest with Obafemi is that he is our player and he is a young player with potential,” the Saints manager told Hampshire Live.

“We have a lot of alternatives in his position and this does not make it any easier for him to play.”

The Austrian is wary of leaving himself short up top if he does let Obafemi leave the club, but is monitoring his situation closely and is aware of the interest in him.

He added: “We need every player this season. If he stays he must fight hard for his position. We want him to be in and around the group but if we see that he is not in the race to start then we will have to discuss what is the best thing for him.

“I don’t want to make the mistake of letting players go. I don’t want to let any players go if we think that we have got a use for them.”

Obafemi has made 32 top flight appearances for Southampton, scoring four goals and providing three assists.

He has struggled with injuries in recent seasons and has always been below Danny Ings and Che Adams in the pecking order – so it is reasonable that he is seeking a new challenge.

Elsewhere, Hasenhuttl has confirmed that centre-back Jannik Vestergaard is close to joining Leicester City.

Vestergaard has made 79 appearances for the club since his move from Borussia Monchengladbach three years ago.

He featured for Denmark at the Euros as Kasper Hjulmand’s side reached the last four, for the first time since they won the competition back in 1992.

It was revealed on Wednesday that Leicester had submitted a £15million bid for Vestergaard which has been accepted, according to The Telegraph.

When asked about the 29-year-old defender, Hasenhuttl said: “He is doing the medical check, and when that is done, then the deal is done.

“He will go to Leicester, then it is for us to replace him and this is what we will do in the future.”