Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating the rest of the summer transfer window following the news that Mark Hughes has signed a long-term deal to stay on as the club’s manager.
The 54-year-old took over at St Mary’s back in March following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino, what with the Saints very much in relegation trouble in the Premier League. And while things weren’t always plain sailing for the ex-Stoke City chief, he led the side to a 17th place finish in English football’s top-flight to preserve their top-tier status, with the South Coast outfit set to embark upon their seventh successive Premier League campaign come August.
As such, there are many optimistic Southampton fans in the Tavern at present, and they are likely to be further intrigued by recent reports suggesting that their club are willing to meet the £12 million release clause in Xherdan Shaqiri’s contract.
And were the Saints to indeed get a deal done for the £16.2 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt), it would surely bring to an end Sofiane Boufal’s testing time on the South Coast.
Ultimately, the 24-year-old made the move to St Mary’s for what was at the time a club record £16 million deal back in 2016, but he has simply failed to make a meaningful impact during his time at Southampton.
The Morocco international, omitted from his country’s squad for this summer’s World Cup finals, has managed a paltry four goals and three assists in 59 appearances for the Saints, which is not what our resident Southampton fans were hoping for when they signed the exciting forward two years ago.
In fact, of his 59 appearances for the club, just 29 have been starts, which itself is indicative of the lack of trust held by managers Pellegrino, Hughes, and indeed Claude Puel, with Boufal never really able to prove his worth under any of them.
Yes, there have been some bright moments, not least a sensational solo goal against West Brom in October 2017, but those moments have been few and far between – Southampton would have expected more from a £16 million signing.
And while Saints fans might argue that Shaqiri is also quite hit-and-miss, the Stoke winger managed more goals and more assists this season for a relegated Potters side than Boufal has managed in two years at Southampton – it remains to be seen what the Switzerland international could do in a better Saints side.
Ultimately, the future doesn’t look bright for Boufal at Southampton.
The forward reportedly fell out with manager Hughes at the rear end of the campaign, and were Shaqiri, who played his trade under Hughes at Stoke between 2015 and 2018, to move to St Mary’s, it’ll only serve to spell even more bad news for the Morocco ace.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience