Southampton have reportedly completed the transfer of Sofiane Boufal from Lille in a club record transfer.
Southampton have confirmed, through a post on their official website, that the club has completed the transfer of Sofiane Boufal from Lille in a £16m deal. The transfer meant that the Saints have now broken their transfer record in order to sign the 22-year-old, which previously stood at £15m paid to AS Roma for Dani Osvaldo, a signing that failed to make much of an impact.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) August 29, 2016
Boufal made it to the senior squad at Lille in the 2014-15 season after coming through the ranks at fellow French side Angers and has since gone on to make 43 Ligue 1 appearances for the club, with a decent return of 14 goals and 10 assists to show for his efforts (stats via whoscored).
Sofiane Boufal’s 2015/16 Ligue 1 season by numbers:
69 chances created
4 assists https://t.co/aM3LtgP0VX
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 29, 2016
The player has amazing statistics to back his transfer fee but keeping that aside, Boufal has impressed with his array of skills, with coaches and experts tipping the Moroccan international to be a huge success in the near future. The 22-year-old has now entered the Premier League by joining Southampton and was visibly ecstatic as he spoke after becoming Saints’ record signing.
“Southampton showed big interest in signing me, and I can see that this club is the best place for me to continue my progression as a footballer. I hope I can achieve many great things with Southampton. It is a very good club, with excellent facilities, and I feel it is the perfect environment to continue my development.”
The player can play all across the attacking midfield position and can even cover at the forward position if needed. The 22-year-old would act as the perfect replacement to Sadio Mane, who completed a move to Liverpool earlier in the summer and could provide the Saints with the edge that seems to be missing in the two Premier League matches thus far.
It remains to be seen whether Boufal is able to capture the imagination of the Premier League and the supporters or turn out to be another transfer disaster like their previous club record signing Dani Osvaldo. However, there seems to be a general consensus that the club have signed a player that has the ability to light up St. Mary’s Stadium.
The Premier League have seen a flurry of arrivals from Ligue 1 and the tweet below summarises the Sofiane Bufal conundrum.
#saintsfc have signed a serious talent in Sofiane Boufal. Up to player now to show right attitude & prove he’s more Payet than he is Thauvin
— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) August 29, 2016
Let’s hope the 22-year-old is able to emulate and possibly even better his Ligue 1 showing as a string of good performances with Southampton could lay the foundation for a move to a possibly bigger club in the Premier League.