Mark Hughes may see one of his striking options depart for another loan spell in the Championship as recently relegated outfit Stoke City have expressed a clear interest in acquiring youngster Sam Gallagher for the forthcoming campaign.
At 22 years of age, the forward has frustratingly struggled to find himself a regular spot in Southampton's first-team, but has featured a fair bit in the club's pre-season fixtures and the boss is thought to rate the player quite highly.
However, Gallagher is yet to prove his worth in the Premier League and looks set on agreeing a deal with Gary Rowett's Stoke for the 2018-19 season, despite fellow division sides Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United displaying a keen eye to seal a deal for the player as well.
The former England under-20 international is unlikely to depart St. Mary's on a permanent basis having penned a four-year contract this time last year and although his track record in the top-flight is not great, he is a great prospect for the future on the south coast.
Can Sam Gallagher make a success of the Championship?
Born in the south-west of England, Gallagher has been a member of the Southampton academy since the age of sixteen.
Previously in Plymouth Argyle's ranks, he has progressively fought his way into the first-team picture but it would appear he may have to wait one more campaign before really nailing down a place in the matchday squad.
Stood at six-foot, four inches tall, the attacking threat would be enjoying his fourth loan spell away from the Saints and his third in the Championship.
Having grappled in his first stint, at MK Dons, Gallagher made thirteen appearances for the team without hitting the back of the net and was consequently recalled by Southampton.
His second move out of Hampshire came in the 2016-17 season with Blackburn Rovers; despite suffering relegation to League One at Ewood Park, Gallagher netted twelve goals throughout the season - slowly becoming the star many thought he would become.
Underwhelmingly, last season was less of a joy than initially thought with just six goals all term for Birmingham City.
That tally did, however, claim his fame as the club's top scorer for the 2017-18 campaign as the Blues so nearly did endure relegation to the third-tier.
Whether Gallagher is capable of becoming an established hit in the Championship remains to be seen, but Stoke City confidently have the foundations to reclaim their spot in the Premier League and he may be able to take full advantage of that gleaming opportunity; the Potters' boss Rowett was keen on signing the striker at Derby County - his previous employer.
No matter what happens between now and the end of the campaign, Gallagher will endure a potential torrid season sat on the bench at Southampton and it is undoubtedly a smart move to spend an additional twelve months in the division below.