The Southampton fans have had plenty of reason to feel downbeat in the Transfer Tavern of late, but recent reports linking them with a move for Mohamed Elyounoussi have given them reason to feel optimistic about the future.
Southampton’s Premier League status hangs firmly in the balance as they move into the business end of the season after a thoroughly sobering campaign for the club. However, according to reports from ESPN, the club’s hierarchy are already looking ahead to the summer transfer window and exploring the possibility of signing Mohamed Elyounoussi from FC Basel.
Southampton will first need to preserve their top-flight status if they wish to harbour any realistic ambitions of signing Elyounoussi this season, but their chances of signing the Norweigan international will remain slim even if they do beat the drop. The report also claims that Arsenal and Leicester are interested in signing the 23-year-old playmaker, both of which are clubs who represent a more attractive destination than Southampton based on the respective ambitions of the three aforementioned clubs.
Although Southampton should not give up their pursuit of a player who has been in brilliant form for FC Basel during the past two seasons, the club need to be pragmatic in their current situation and focus on more realistic transfer targets. The south-coast outfit do not need to stray too far from Basel to identify another worthy target, as Roger Assale (valued at £1.8 million by Transfermarkt) of BSC Young Boys could represent a brilliant value for money signing in the summer.
So far this season, the Ivory Coast international has scored 19 goals and 10 assists from 39 appearances in all-competitions – a record which suggests he has the potential to thrive in English football. Physically Assale is rather minute at just 5ft, 5in, but what he lacks in height he more than makes up for in pace, agility and technical skill.
The 24-year-old is a proven goal-scorer, but not merely a poacher. He is arguably at his best when he drops deep to collect the ball before embarking on a mazey run at the heart of the opponent’s defence. Southampton have been lacking the presence of a player who possesses this ability all season, and their shortcoming in this regard has served to nullify their attacking threat.
However, the signing of the relatively unknown Assale could provide Southampton with the injection of pace and creativity they have been craving all season, so they should do everything they can to bring him to St Mary’s in the summer transfer window.