Southampton boss Mark Hughes is reportedly keen on a move for Napoli‘s Colombian forward Duvan Zapata, who spent the entirety of last season on loan at Sampdoria and is also being targeted by Villarreal.
According to Gazza Mercato, the Saints are looking at the 27-year-old as an option to bolster their strike force as they look to provide some competition for the under performing Charlie Austin, Manolo Gabbiadini and Shane Long.
However, the Premier League club – who only narrowly avoided relegation to the Championship last season – may have a troubled time acquiring the signature of the Colombian international due to work permit issues.
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan spoke of how he tried to sign the forward – who has 75 goals in 235 games throughout his career – but experienced issues with getting the then 22-year-old a work permit due to his lack of action on the international scene.
Zapata has since won five caps for his country, scoring zero goals, but bringing him to St Mary’s would still prove difficult and could be a foolish move to negotiate given the fact that the transfer window closes three weeks earlier than usual.
Zapata, who has also spent time on loan at Udinese from Napoli, was not considered for Colombia’s World Cup squad despite registering 11 goals in 24 appearances in Serie A last season.
Regardless of his previous work permit complications, Hughes may well push on with a move for the 27-year-old given the fact that he tried to sign the forward for QPR during his time at Loftus Road.
Goalscoring was certainly an issue for the Saints last season, so it is at least a positive that striking options are being targeted.