Mark Hughes has made plenty of positive progress in the transfer window this summer with the signing of 4 new players already complete, but recent reports suggest they could face a battle to keep Mario Lemina at the club before the window slams shut.
According to a recent report from Sky Sports (via talkSPORT) Sampdoria are closing in on a £8.9 million deal for Pedro Obiang, and his imminent sale has prompted the Hammers to turn their attention towards Lemina (valued at £13.5 million by Transfermarkt).
The 24-year-old midfielder struggled for consistency during his debut season for Southampton, but there was plenty of talent on show to suggest that he has the potential to blossom into a Champions League standard player in the years to come.
With a confident ability to drive at his opponents in possession, an incisive range of passing and defensive solidity to bring to the table, Lemina possesses plenty of attributes which form a fantastic box-to-box midfielder, so there’s no doubt that keeping him at St Mary’s should be something of a priority for Hughes this summer.
After signing two quality players in Mohamed Elyounoussi and Jannick Vestergaard, there is a new feeling of optimism on the south coast, but that positive outlook of the future could be snatched away from the supporters if their club decide to sell Lemina to Southampton this summer.
Not only would it be a physical blow to lose Lemina to a Premier League rival, but it would also represent a metaphorical one due to West Ham’s standing in the top-flight.
A move to a club of Manchester City’s Tottenham Hotspur’s, or the familiar face of Liverpool’s standing would represent a step forwards in Lemina’s career but, on paper, a move to West Ham would be nothing more than a sideways move.
If Hughes allows this to happen, he could set an unwanted precedent for the future, so it’s imperative he convinces the Gabonese lynchpin to remain at the club.
Southampton fans – thoughts? Let us know below!