Saints Reject Lemina Bid
Tuesday, 2nd Jul 2019 10:22
Saints look ready to accept a decent offer on Mario Lemina, but only on their terms and only a permanent deal.
Mario Lemina is wanted by Italian Serie A side Atalanta and it is reported in Italy that Saints have turned down an offer of a season long loan followed by an option for a permanent deal .
Lemina has at times shown he is the most gifted of the Saints central midfielders, but he has spent a lot of time injured in his two seasons at St Mary's and there have also been rumours of his lifestyle affecting his ability to perform with the consistency needed at the the top level.
Last season Lemina started 18 games plus another 3 as sub scoring only once, but most of those games were before the turn of the New Year and since then he managed only 3 appearances all in the final games of the season and only one in the starting line up.
His first season was very similar, starting 20 and 5 off the bench, Lemina is without a doubt a talented player and has the ability to truly become a top player, but something is holding him back, either temperament or injury and he has not reached the heights he really should have.
Turning 26 in a couple of months, he should have approaching 250 League games to his name, but he has only around half of that number since making his debut as a 19 year old in 2012 for LOrient in French Ligue 1.
Saints have a plethora of central midfielders, James Ward Prowse, Oriol Romeu, Stuart Armstrong and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg making it 5 options for 3 positions and with Callum Slattery pushing for a place and others able to play centrally, it is perhaps the strongest area of the team.
A fit Lemina on the top of his game would be a certainty to play, but he has never shown the consistency needed in his time here and others are in the pecking order ahead of him at the moment.
Therefore although I am sure that Saints would prefer him to stay and become the player he has the capabilities to be, they know that they need to and can afford to sell a player from that department.
Lemina has three years left on his contract so Saints won't be brow beaten and will look to recoup most if not all of the £18 million they paid two years ago.
Atalanta having qualified for the Champions League have that sort of money and need to strengthen, so I would not rule out an offer coming in to take him back to Italy permanently, but Saints will control this transfer and although it represents good business, it will only be if it is right for Saints
Photo: Action Images
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