Southampton: How are Saints’ loan players faring away from the club?

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: fans of Southampton hold up their scarves during the EFL Cup Final match between Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on February 26, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: fans of Southampton hold up their scarves during the EFL Cup Final match between Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on February 26, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images) /

With the Saints riding high on six straight unbeaten and sitting fourth in the league table, we take a look at how some of the club’s players out on loan are faring this season.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has truly turned the Saints into a force within the Premier League so far this season, continuing the side’s success from the pandemic restart over the summer into the new league season.

With such depth and talent for the club, quite a few players have ended up on loan this season to help shed some of the club’s payroll as well as giving them valuable time on the pitch they may not get in the Premier League this year.

With six players out on loan currently, we decided to take a look into how each are doing with their loan clubs this season.

Stoke goalkeeper Angus Gunn (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stoke goalkeeper Angus Gunn (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) /

Mohammed Elyounoussi (Celtic FC)

After signing from Basel in June 2018 for £16 million, the Norwegian winger made 19 appearances for the club in 2018-2019 but was seemingly unable to find goals for the Saints.

He spent the 2019-2020 campaign on loan with Glasgow’s Celtic FC and was a massive part of that club’s league title, scoring seven goals and six assists in 20 appearances there before suffering a foot injury in November.

Seemingly unlikely to break into the first team under Ralph Hasenhuttl for 2020-2021, he was loaned back out to Celtic for the current campaign and has performed admirably for the side this year.

Elyounoussi seems to have come into his own in Glasgow, seeing the same scoring success he saw in Basel before joining Saints, with ten goals and four assists this season in 18 appearances.

However, he has been the subject of much criticism over the past week after being caught checking his cell phone after being subbed off in Celtic’s 4-1 Europa League loss last week. Fortunately, Mo was able to redeem himself with his first hat trick for the side in their 4-1 win over Motherwell on Sunday.

Saints fans should be elated to see the young winger performing so well, as he could make a return to St. Mary’s once his loan spell ends, as he is under contract with the club through June 2022.

Angus Gunn (Stoke City)

After the return of Fraser Forster from Celtic this season, the young goalkeeper found himself behind the established Forster and starter Alex McCarthy in the pecking order.

With three years still left under his contract after joining from Manchester City in 2018, Gunn was loaned out to Championship club Stoke City in October as a replacement for Jack Butland, who left to join Crystal Palace.

After the side’s starter in goal Adam Davies suffered an injury against Swansea City on October 27, Gunn stepped in to fill the position and has remained the side’s starter since.

Through his four matches so far for the Potters, Gunn has held two clean sheets while conceding four goals. He should get to see plenty of match time with Davies’ injury expected to sideline him through late January, Gunn should see plenty of match time for the side over the coming months.

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Mario Lemina (Fulham)

The much-maligned Gabonese midfielder joined Saints in 2017 from Juventus, and through 47 appearances with the club, he only had two goals to his name. Despite displaying quite a bit of talent on the ball, he struggled to be consistent nor play up to his price tag.

Lemina spent the 2019-2020 season on loan with Turkish club Galatasaray, making 28 appearances there with just one goal to his name and no assists.

For the 2020-2021 campaign, Mario was loaned out to once again newly-promoted Fulham with an option to buy.

Limited by two injuries this year, he has only made four appearances for the Lily Whites, missing five matches due to injury thus far.

Saints fans can only hope that Lemina can stay healthy and perform a bit for the side, if for nothing else than to have Fulham purchase him at the end of the loan spell to clear up funds for the side.

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Wesley Hoedt (Lazio)

Hoedt was purchased by the Saints from Italian-side Lazio in 2017 for £15 million, and struggled to play up to par and compete within the side with 41 appearances over two seasons. He spent part of 2019 and all of 2020 on loan with Celta Vigo and Antwerp respectively, making 31 combined appearances for both.

Unlikely to break into Ralph’s side this year over Jan Bednarek, Jannik Vestergaard, Jack Stephens and new signing Mohammed Salisu, he was loaned back to his old club Lazio with an option to buy for the season.

He has yet to break in consistently for the Serie A side, making four league appearances and three in Champions League play this year. Especially as the side tends to play with three at the back, it may be hard for Hoedt to truly break into consistent play for the side pending his performances.

He has made some improvements in his play, however, performing admirably in Lazio’s 1-1 draw with Club Brugge in Champion’s League play just over a week ago, with 11 clearances and three tackles for the side.

Josh Sims (Doncaster Rovers)

A Southampton academy product, Sims had shown immense potential in his debut match for the club in 2016 as just 19 years old, completing 95% of his passes and assisting Charlie Adams’ goal in the first minute of play.

Since then, however, he has slid down the pecking order behind the depth of talent Saints have on the wings, not appearing for the senior side since 2018-2019.

He spent spells on loan with Reading and then MLS’s NY Red Bulls over the past two seasons, with 28 appearances between the two.

For the 2020-2021 campaign, Sims was loaned out to League One side Doncaster Rovers on a three-month-long loan.

The youngster has flourished with the side so far, scoring four and assisting five through ten matches with Rovers on the year.

Jake Hesketh (Crawley Town)

Another academy product, Hesketh has only made four senior appearances for the club since 2014, two in 2015 and two in 2017. He has spent the better part of his time since then on loan at Burton Albion, MK Dons, Lincoln City, and now League Two side Crawley Town.

The young attacking midfielder has made four league appearances for the Reds, netting an assist in a 4-0 win against Tranmere Rovers at the end of October.

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