Sadio Mane has continued to impress Liverpool supporters this season whilst combining with the likes of Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah to devastating effect in the final-third, but he represents just one of a handful of players who made their name at Southampton before moving to Anfield.
Mane scored 45 goals and provided 32 assists from 87 appearances in all-competitions for RB Salzburg before he moved to the Premier League – a quite startling record for a player at any level.
That Southampton managed to secure his signature for a fee of just £10 million suggests that, for some bizarre reason, Europe’s heavyweights had their reservations about the Senegal international.
After all, who could sniff at a record that clinical for a modest fee of just £10 million? Southampton certainly didn’t and they profited on the situation whilst the rest of Europe were seemingly sleeping, but that was not the start and end of their profit.
They metaphorically profited from the failure of their rivals to spot a bargain acquisition from RB Salzburg, but they profited in the purest financial sense of the word when they eventually offloaded him to Liverpool for a fee of £36 million after he bagged 25 goals from 75 appearances for the Saints.
During the most recent summer window, Southampton dipped into one of Europe’s less prestigious leagues to secure the signing of Mohamed Elyounoussi from FC Basel.
Although the Swiss Super League represents a significant step down in quality in comparison to the Premier League, Elyounoussi arrived at St Mary’s with Champions League experience and a match-winning performance against Manchester City shining on his CV.
Anybody who watched Elyounoussi’s masterclass at the Etihad last season will be aware of the enormous extent of his potential, even if he has struggled to hit the ground running this season.
A reasonable sceptic could easily point to his limited experience at the top level as justification for his failure to light up the Premier League just yet, but Mane’s glowing spell with Southampton after arriving from a similar footballing background suggests that he’s one to watch this season.
Elyounoussi’s record of 23 goals and 30 assists from 83 appearances at Basel is not as prolific as the one which Mane boasted in Austria, but it’s still more than enough to suggest he possesses the necessary quality to thrive in the Premier League.
Southampton won’t be planning on selling yet another of their star players to Liverpool in the coming years but, if they find a system which suits Elyounoussi and nurture his talent effectively, the Saints might find themselves fighting to keep yet another gem.
Southampton fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
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