Reports that Schalke have taken a shine to Southampton’s Dusan Tadic this weekend comes a few days after it had emerged the Serbian schemer had been offered a new deal at St Mary’s.
The former FC Twente midfielder is about to enter his third season on the south coast and has thus far stayed out of the brochures advertising the wares at the Saints’ annual asset auctions.
Graziano Pelle recently became the 11th first-team regular to depart the club since Tadic signed in July of 2014.
The Italian was purchased in the same pre-season as the Serb, along with Sadio Mane, though only one remains at the club currently.
Tadic is fast becoming one of Southampton’s longest serving players and judging by the gradual improvement demonstrated in his previous campaigns, ensuring he stays must be a top priority.
In 27 Premier League starts last term, the 27-year-old set up 12 goals for colleagues and helped himself to a further seven.
This made him the Saints’ most prolific creator by some distance, with six assists the next best tally within the ranks last season (the silver medal shared by now-departed Pelle and Mane).
To emphasise how impressive Tadic’s assist count is, only two Premier League peers – feted conjurers Mesut Ozil and Christian Eriksen – were able to best it, but the Southampton star outscored both.
These figures represented a gradual improvement on those posted a year before, when he netted four and laid on seven in his first season in England’s top flight.
Yet despite the impressive nature of these stats, Tadic continues to go underappreciated. He is yet to receive the same recognition as the likes of Mane, who Liverpool deemed good enough to warrant a £34m outlay. Even Southampton opted to leave him on the bench 11 times last term.
Having fashioned a platform upon which mercurial attacking-midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa could showcase his considerable talents at Nice, the Serbian superstar is set to supernova under the guidance of new Saints coach Claude Puel.
Getting Tadic to ink his contract extension will prove to be Southampton’s most important piece of business this summer; they’re 12/1 to finish in the top four.