Leicester City supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating the 2018/19 Premier League season, what with their team seeking to improve upon their ninth place finish last time round.
The Foxes made a sluggish start to the campaign and found themselves languishing in the bottom three when Claude Puel arrived to replace the sacked Craig Shakespeare, with the Frenchman then leading something of a resurgence to eventually finish in the top half. However, he came under increasing pressure as the season went on, with many of our resident Leicester fans hoping for even better from their side this term in a bid to improve upon their ninth place effort last time round.
Thus, there are many excited and indeed hopeful Foxes supporters in the Tavern at present, several of whom are looking around the transfer window seeking the sort of additions that can seriously improve Puel’s squad ahead of the new season.
And one man several feel could come into his own under the Frenchman is Southampton outcast Sofiane Boufal, valued at £10.8 million by Transfermarkt.
Ultimately, the 24-year-old has seriously struggled to produce the goods since his move to St Mary’s back in 2016, with the Morocco international, who failed to make his country’s World Cup squad this summer, scoring just four goals and laying on three assists in 59 games for the Saints.
And while there have been glimpses of brilliance during his time on the South Coast, his exclusion from Mark Hughes’ side at the rear end of last season has plunged his future into doubt, which has since been heightened by reports that he has been left out of their squad for pre-season training.
However, one mustn’t forget that it was Puel who brought Boufal to Southampton upon his arrival as Saints boss back in 2016, so the Frenchman obviously rates him highly given he sanctioned a £16 million move for the 24-year-old.
And much of that may well have come about given Boufal’s excellent stint at Ligue 1 side Lille, with the forward netting 15 goals and laying on ten assists in 51 appearances for the French outfit, 12 goals and four assists of which coming in his final season at the club.
And with Puel in charge of fellow top-flight side Nice at the time, he would have seen regularly just how good and effective the Moroccan was during his stint at Lille, while it’s also worth noting that he started more league games under Puel at Southampton than he did last term to suggest that the Frenchman was hopeful that he could come good.
Significantly though, with Riyad Mahrez seemingly on his way out of the King Power Stadium, Puel will surely be looking at bringing in those players that can conjure up something out of very little, and thus produce the moments of magic synonymous with the Algerian ace – Boufal could be that man.
The goal he scored against West Brom back in October of last year was simply extraordinary and indicative of the talent he clearly has at his disposal – talent Puel recognises having signed him for Southampton, and talent the Frenchman may well be able to extract more consistently. Puel even compared him with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo while in charge at Southampton.
Thus, with his future prospects at St Mary’s looking particularly bleak, Puel should seek to reunite with the Saints flop in a bid to finally get the best out of him in the Premier League.
Leicester fans… what do you think? Let us know!