Why Saints Should Cut Their Losses And Sell Sofiane Boufal
Friday, 2nd Aug 2019 10:19
A few weeks ago the news that an agreement has apparently been reached with OGC Nice to buy Sofiane Boufal would have been welcomed by Saints fans, but suddenly many are saying he should stay, but are they right or wrong ?
According to news reports Sofiane Boufal has reached a ‘contractual agreement’ to join OGC Nice, that would have been good news, but a goal against Feyenoord for the player has suddenly lead to Saints fans on social media suggesting that he should stay.
This site has always liked Boufal, we have always found him to be an honest player who has worked hard despite finding himself playing in sides under Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes that did not suit his playing style.
Now some are suggesting that he could flourish under Ralph Hasenhuttl after his goal against Feyenoord but is this truly enough evidence to even consider keeping him ?
Boufal has now been at the club for three years, one of which he spent on loan at Celta Vigo, by all accounts he had a solid season with 25 starts and 10 appearances as sub for the Spanish club in La Liga, but with only 3 goals it does not suggest that is was spectacular and Celta Vigo have not been desperate to sign him even though he also had 4 assists to his name.
In his two seasons in the Saints first team squad he started only 23 Premier League games plus another 27 as sub and scored only 3 times with 2 assists credited to him.
Whilst there is no doubt that in that spell he was playing in a team not suited to his style, is there any reason to believe that Ralph Hasenhuttl's will suit him any better ?
Boufal is a player who does his work when he has the ball, whereas Ralph demands more than that from his players, he wants a pressing game and players that will work hard, is that Boufal's game, evidence would suggest not.
The reality is that he is suited to the European style of play where the emphasis is on passing and keeping the ball, rather than the pace of the Premier League, hence it was easier for him to play well against Feyenoord and indeed score a goal.
But 45 minutes in pre season and a goal is not enough evidence to suggest that suddenly he might be a World beater, sometimes you have to cut your losses and that might be one of those times, he is a luxury player and whilst the Big Six clubs can afford luxury players in the main the other 14 clubs can't.
If he stayed it would not be a disaster, but what would he offer, would it be much more than a place on the bench and the 1 1/2 goals per season so far, I would suggest not.
Perhaps if we had a small squad then we could take the punt, but we need to trim the squad and we have a plethora of players who can play in his position, would he start before Nathan Redmond or Moussa Djenepo, or for that matter Josh Sims and then we have the question of of whether Mo Elyounoussi could come good.
Some say than none of them have the flair and trickery of Boufal, but flair and trickery is no good without end product and that is the problem there has been little end product, he has the talent, but he is yet to apply it.
As I said I like Boufal, apart from his fallout with Mark Hughes there has never been a problem with his attitude, but sadly 45 minutes against Feyenoord, which to be honest was not particularly notable apart from the goal, is not enough evidence to consider keeping him if we can get a good offer and put money in the bank and trim wages off the bill.
So there is are just too many reasons not to keep him and to be blunt not many at all to persevere and give him a chance, when you add it all up yes if he stayed he might offer the odd bit of flair and brilliance but that is not enough and circumstances dictate that we need to cut our losses and get something back on him, as in another year's time he will have little worth as he enters the last year of his contract.
Taking all things into account Sofiane Boufal has to go, but he should go with the best wishes of Saints fans ringing in his ears, perhaps we will make a big loss on him in terms of transfer fee, but it could also be said that some of that was repaid due to his three League goals, his winner in the 1-0 win against Middlesbrough at St Mary's in his first season gave us an extra two points that in the final table leapfrogged us three positions so was worth around £6 million.
In his second season his goal against West Brom gave us a big advantage come the end of the season and without it the final day would have been a lot more nerve wracking, so although not on paper meaning anything in hindsight, in reality was probably worth his transfer fee alone.
Photo: Action Images
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