Southampton broke their transfer record in the summer of 2016, when they signed Lille winger Sofiane Boufal for £16m.
The then-22-year-old had registered 14 goals and ten assists in his two years at Lille, and looked to be one of the hottest prospects in Ligue 1.
Southampton knew about the player’s potentially, and were rightfully very excited. They took to Twitter to celebrate the signing of the player, deeming it a massive step forward for what may have been deemed a small club in England.
Equally, a lot of slightly more cynical fans suggested how he would be a Liverpool player in a matter of seasons, given The Reds’ record of pilfering players from the south coast. Nonetheless, all fans were expecting big things from the player.
This is what the fans had to say:
Fantastic , looking forward to seeing this lad play
— Art68 (@ArthurCogger) August 29, 2016
Sofiane Boufal last 8 shots on target in Ligue 1 :
— Vince Mooneesamy (@VinceMooneesamy) August 29, 2016
massive credit to les reed. We’ll done
— Mark clutterbrook (@MClutterbrook) August 30, 2016
woohoo was beginning to think it wasn’t going to happen but so happy. Now our season can get started
— alison palmer #FBPE (@alipal69) August 29, 2016
Amazing player! 20m for him is a bargain nowadays.
— Martin (@martinbidoum) August 29, 2016
— Paul Pope (@Paul_Pope) August 29, 2016
another so called small club making huge signings props to @SouthamptonFC
— Kieran (@wavy_ains15) August 29, 2016
He’ll be off to Liverpool in the summer of 2018
— MA7 (@martins_Ma7) August 29, 2016
Welcome to Liverpool
— george roe (@george16roe) August 29, 2016
Two years later, and the Morocco international is on loan at La Liga side Celta Vigo, where he has managed one goal and one assist in five appearances.
This came after two years where the player failed to live up the the hype he had. He wasn’t necessarily a disaster; after all, he played 50 Premier League games, and even managed to win Premier League Goal of the Season last term, however, he fell short of fans’ expectations.
He had a very modest return of three league goals and two assists, as The Saints very narrowly avoided relegation last year, and manager Mark Huges obviously saw him as surplus to requirements.
Perhaps, if he has a successful season in Spain, he may return to England with a renewed vigour and take the league by storm. If not, it is easy to see him out the club next summer.
Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, he was a victim of the fans’ hopes. There have certainly been worse signings, but those many supporters that showed their joy on Twitter will be disappointed.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
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