Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are relishing the rest of the summer transfer window following news that Mark Hughes has signed a new deal to remain the club’s manager heading into the 2018/19 season.
The former Stoke City boss took over at St Mary’s back in March following the departure of Mauricio Pellegrino, and was tasked with trying to keep a Saints side bereft of confidence in the Premier League. And the 54-year-old did just that with key victories over Bournemouth and Swansea City in the final few weeks of the season, with the South Coast outfit eventually finishing in 17th place in the table, three points clear of the relegated Swans.
Yet our resident Saints fans will be hoping for much better next time round after a dismal season this term, although one man who won’t be a part of that is defender Jeremy Pied, who will officially leave the club at the expiration of his contract.
And with the Frenchman gone, the South Coast club should also seek to cut their losses by getting rid of £10.8 million-rated flop Sofiane Boufal (as per Transfermarkt) this summer.
Ultimately, the 24-year-old simply hasn’t had the desired effect since his £16 million move from Lille back in 2016, with the Morocco international managing a paltry four goals and three assists in 59 appearances for Southampton.
And the fact that just half of those appearances have been starts underlines the lack of trust placed in him by managers Hughes, Pellegrino, and Claude Puel, which simply shouldn’t be the case for what was once the club’s record signing.
Yes, there have been glimpses of brilliance during his spell at St Mary’s, not least that magical solo goal against West Brom back in October 2017, but those moments have been few and far between, with his and the other forward players’ difficulties this term without doubt playing a key part in their struggles.
And with Hughes likely to be eyeing the top half of the Premier League next season, where the Saints finished in each of their four campaigns prior to this one, he will probably seek to offload those that flatter to deceive, and simply don’t offer anywhere near what they should – Boufal is one of those.
And having reportedly fallen out with the Southampton manager in the latter stage of the campaign, the 24-year-old’s future prospects at St Mary’s look very bleak indeed.
Add in his overall ineffectiveness throughout his time at the club, and the Moroccan star should follow Frenchman Pied out of St Mary’s exit door this summer.
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