Boufal Or Sims ?
Tuesday, 7th Jan 2020 10:15
With the January transfer window well now open, there are rumours of departures as well as arrivals at St Mary's in the next few weeks, one touted to leave is Josh Sims, but will Ralph Hasenhuttl decide to reverse his decision back in August.
With a plethora of wide men in the squad, back in August Ralph Hasenhuttl had a decision to make with the need to trim the wage bill albeit for a short time and get people out on loan.
Last season Sofiane Boufal had been way down on the list of Saints fans rated players whereas Josh Sims although he had had a disastrous first half of the season on loan at Reading and was recalled early due to a failure to get much game time, had forced his way back into the reckoning and played a part in the final two months of the season.
So when the squad came back at the start of July Sofiane Boufal would not have won many votes in a poll of Saints supporters if they were asked who they would prefer to stay or go between the pair.
Boufal's star rose back in July when he scored in a pre season win at Feyenoord and showed his talents in a home friendly and suddenly some had changed their mind about the player and were claiming he could be a success here after all.
It seemed Ralph Hasenhuttl felt the same and strangely allowed Josh Sims to join New York Red Bulls on loan, strange because there were barely six weeks of the MLS regular season left and Sims would have to sign until January 1st.
Red Bulls season did not end on a high and Sims season was over by early October meaning he had to kick his heels without being able to play at St Mary's for over two months, hence this was a very strange loan move if Saints wanted Sims to get game time.
Boufal's season started well initially with an assist after coming on at Brighton and a couple of reasonable games in the starting line up, but sadly it has been downhill since.
In his defence it can be said he was playing in a struggling side, but even since Saints resurgence he has not been great, yes he has had some decent runs, but usually they come to nothing and he has failed to score and only has two assists to his name the last coming at Sheffield United back in September.
His performance against Huddersfield was perhaps reminiscent of his first couple of seasons here where he clearly had talent but too often he had no end product, either hitting poor crosses or trying to take on a man once too often and losing the ball.
Certainly they both have contrasting styles, Boufal is full of trickery whereas Sims is about pace and is more direct, perhaps Ralph will feel that he has enough trickery in the squad this time and that he has not enough directness.
Both players are at crossroads in their career, at 26 Boufal should really be the player that he threatened to become four years ago when Saints signed him in 2016, but he has never fulfilled that potential in anything like the number of games he really should have done and you have to question whether he is suited to the Premier League and would be better on the continent where the game is played at a slower less frantic pace that suits his way of playing more.
Sims will turn 23 in March and he also has not quite achieved the success he should have done after bursting on the scene three years ago, sometimes he flatters to deceive wth his pace and fails to deliver.
So Ralph Hasenhuttl has to do some thinking in the next week or so, there is clearly not room for both in the squad and both are likely to be only used as impact players off the bench going forward, so will he opt to stick with Boufal and put Sims back out on loan for the rest of the season or reverse his thinking from August.
From a financial point of view it lakes sense for Boufal to go, he is on high wages and Saints will be hoping that with there being only a year to go on his contract come the summer they might finally be able to get shot of him, if he stays here his value is going to drop, whereas a successful loan spell in France for instance might increase that value.
Sims too will have a year left on his contract at the end of the season, but he is young and could still become the player he looked likely to be, but to be blunt if he does not force his way into Ralph's thinking this season then we are likely to look to move him on n the summer and get a fee for him whilst his stock is still high rather than risk losing him for free.
In the summer of 2021 when his current contract expires Sims will be 24, so Saints will not be entitled to any fee should he see his contract out.
So like Boufal Saints have a dilemma over Sims, they have to decide whether he can make it here and if so offer him a new deal or they have to cut their losses and run and perhaps get a fee of sorts in the summer of 2020.
That being the case I would think that the club have to send Boufal out on loan and give Sims the chance to prove his worth and then in the summer they will either have to offer him that new deal or sell him.
Personally I think that Boufal has had enough time to show his worth and we need to cut our losses, I do not think he will be good enough long term, Sims perhaps, but he too has not yet convinced any of the four managers he has played under at St Mary's and time is running out, I think it probablt that neither will be here next season, but Sims maybe has one final chance left.
So who do you think should stay or go, vote in the poll below.
Photo: Action Images
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