Everton have registered an interest in Southampton misfit Mario Lemina, according to reports.
The midfielder’s time at St Mary’s looks all but finished, with the Gabonese player making it clear that he wants out this summer. His wishes have been granted by Hasenhuttl, who has kept him away from the squad all summer by not allowing him to follow the club on their pre-season tour (The Telegraph).
Lemina joined Saints in a then club-record deal worth up to £18.1m, according to the BBC, paying £15.4m up front, with the rest depending on performance-based add-ons.
“I stand by my plan, I decided to tell the leaders that I wanted to leave, there is no turning back.
“There is a risk, of course, but I know what I’m capable of, I’m 100 per cent and I’m going to prove that I can get back to my best.
“Some clubs may be more cautious, but they already know me. I am ready to move on.”
Considering that Southampton have prepared for his departure all summer due to his omission from the squad, the impact of him leaving should be minimal in terms of morale and their playing style thus far during pre-season.
Hasenhuttl should not face too much of a struggle to adjust to his potential departure as Lemina has been out for pretty much the entirety of his spell.
Still, he had the highest (WhoScored) pass success percentage with 86% for any player who played more than 10 games, so there is clearly a benefit to having him in the team despite his relative lack of impact.
His future on the south coast does look bleak and while there is an obvious talent there when looking at his passing statistics, the fact the Saints have the likes of Oriol Romeu and Pierre Hojberg available in central midfield roles suggests they’re covered.
Indeed, new signing Moussa Djenepo has been described as ‘free-dribbling’ and was the U20 player to have attempted the most dribbles in last season’s Europa League group stages (Squawka) so could go some way into replacing the efforts of Lemina last season, who attempted the second-most in the Saints squad behind Nathan Redmond.
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