The Manchester City fans in the Transfer Tavern are looking forward to their Champions League clash with FC Basel this evening, but so are our resident Saints, as they are intrigued by how Mohamed Elyounoussi performs for the travelling side.
Manchester City’s second-leg fixture against FC Basel represents something of a formality due to The Citizens 4-0 advantage following a comprehensive victory in Switzerland three weeks ago. The Swiss outfit had their chances to take the lead before City took control in the first-leg, but they were punished emphatically by a side who you simply cannot miss golden opportunities against. Basel travel to Manchester this evening with absolutely nothing to lose, so perhaps they will be more clinical in front of goal at the Etihad Stadium than they were at St. Jakob Park.
If Basel want to give their travelling supporters something to shout about this evening, they will need Mohamed Elyounoussi to bring his A-game to Manchester and continue his fine domestic form for the club on the European stage. The 23-year-old midfielder is comfortable playing in central attacking midfield or on the left-wing, but he has usually been deployed in the latter role during Basel’s Champions League fixtures so far this season.
Elyounoussi, who was previously linked with the Saints, has consistently provided a creative spark for the club since he signed from Norwegian outfit Molde FK in July 2016. Last season the Norwegian international score 10 goals and provided 13 assists from 40 fixtures in all competitions, and he has continued to impress this season by scoring 6 and providing 12 from 30 fixtures so far.
His record speaks for itself, and considering his age he is bound to go from strength to strength in the years to come. With that being said, Southampton should consider bringing him to Saint Mary’s next season to challenge, or even replace Dusan Tadic, providing they remain in the Premier League of course.
On paper, Tadic is one of Southampton’s most creative attacking players, but he has struggled to prove that so far this season. Some supporters may blame Pellegrino’s philosophy for Tadic’s average performances during the current campaign, but ultimately players have to take a large portion of responsibility for their own form.
Elyounoussi has started every one of Basel’s Champions League fixtures so far this season, so he’ll almost certainly be handed another place in the first-eleven this evening. Southampton’s hierarchy would be wise to keep a close eye on him as he pits his wits against one of the best teams in European football, as the quality of his performance could indicate his potential to succeed in English football.