Southampton forward Sofiane Boufal is reportedly close to securing a summer move away from the club.
According to a report from Greek news outlet SPORtime, Olympiacos have made an offer to Saints that totals 4 million euros and have offered Boufal a three-year contract that provides the Moroccan with 1.7 million euros in annual salary.
They also confirm that Real Betis and Trabzonspor are interested in bringing the 26-year-old in and Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl appeared to confirm at the weekend that an exit was close to being confirmed.
Speaking to the media after his side’s narrow loss to Crystal Palace, Hasenhuttl said:
“We try to force our young lads. Nathan Tella was in this squad and we want to give him a chance to be with us as a team. These guys are the future for this club.
“We have a few guys who can still move (in this transfer window). Maybe he (Boufal) is one of those, yes.”
If Boufal leaves soon, many Saints fans will feel frustrated at the fact that he never really grasped his chance at St Mary’s.
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A lot was expected of him when he arrived back in 2016 as a £16m signing from Lille given that Saints were said to have fought off interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs to secure his signature.
84 games for the club have yielded just five goals and five assists and a falling out with former Saints manager Mark Hughes led to a spell out on loan with Celta Vigo.
He was given one last chance to impress by Ralph Hasenhuttl but now it appears that the Austrian’s patience has run out. Boufal was not involved in a matchday squad after the Premier League’s June restart in 2019/20.
There have, of course, been a few spectacular moments from Boufal. Who can forget his first goal for the club against Sunderland in the League Cup or his unbelievable solo strike against West Brom – eventually voted Premier League Goal of the Season in the 2017/18 season.
Consistency has not been there since his arrival four years ago and now it seems that he will be facing a new start in Greece.
A missed opportunity for Saints? Yes perhaps. But now it is vital to put faith in young players coming through like Nathan Tella and Will Smallbone who deserve a chance to impress.