Leicester City have recently confirmed on their official website the signing of winger Rachid Ghezzal on a four-year deal. The 26-year-old had been playing his football in France with 2016/17 Ligue 1 champions Monaco prior to making the move to the King Power Stadium earlier this week, where manager Claude Puel will likely be hoping he can fill the void left by Riyad Mahrez, who joined Manchester City earlier in the summer.
And news of Ghezzal’s arrival at Leicester should be of keen interest to Southampton manager Mark Hughes, who as such should be triggered into a late summer move for Foxes winger Demarai Gray, who could be set to suffer from the 26-year-old’s recent addition.
Ultimately, Puel and the club’s hierarchy would have been well-aware that a replacement of soughts for Mahrez was needed over the summer, what with the Algeria international having produced the goods throughout his time at the King Power Stadium.
And while there aren’t many players in Europe that are capable of producing that level of performance on a weekly basis, Ghezzal’s arrival would certainly help plug the hole left from his departure, although it does mean that there are now several wingers on the books at the Midlands outfit.
And given he was unable to command a starting place on a regular basis last season, that could spell bad news for England Under-21 international Gray who, although appearing in all but three of their 38 Premier League games last term, only started 17 of them.
And what with Southampton having been linked with a move for the 22-year-old in the past (albeit while Puel was in charge), and clearly in need of further attacking reinforcements after a testing campaign last term, Hughes’ men must seek to make a move for the talented winger.
The Saints narrowly avoided relegation from the top-flight last season, with their tally of 37 goals from their 38 games a chief reason for their demise from being an established Premier League club to one just three points away from dropping down into the Championship.
And while Hughes has gone some way to addressing that with a move for Mohamed Elyounoussi, the departure of Dusan Tadic certainly hasn’t helped his cause, which is why a move for Gray is one they simply must make this summer.
Yes, the 22-year-old hasn’t always produced the goods for Leicester since his move there back in 2016, but there is little doubting that he has the talent and indeed the potential to become a top-quality winger, be it pace, trickery, or indeed the desire to take defenders on and beat his man.
Those moments have been few and far between in recent seasons, hence the lack of regular playing time under Puel, but at a club that are renowned for developing young talent and giving them a chance in the first team, a move to Southampton could be on the best interests of both himself, and indeed the Saints as a whole.
And while Ghezzal’s arrival may appear to be a nod towards a Mahrez replacement, Gray’s position in the starting eleven may also be in jeopardy, which is why this recent deal should trigger Southampton into a move for the 22-year-old.
Southampton and Leicester fans… what do you think? Let us know!