Southampton’s model of developing young players will stand Kamaldeen Sulemana in good stead in England, according to former Premier League champion Joleon Lescott.
The Saints signed Sulemana from Ligue 1 side Rennes for a deal worth £25m on transfer deadline day in January. The attacker thus leapfrogged Danny Ings as the club’s most expensive signing.
Sulemana has since made two league appearances for Southampton, but ended on the losing side on both occasions. The club’s status as relegation-battlers has made life difficult for him.
Lescott has now explained how playing for a team battling relegation will be tricky for the Ghana international. The former Manchester City defender, though, feels things will eventually fall in place for the youngster. He told journalist Mishael Quaynor:
"“It is tough [playing for a club battling relegation]. There’ll be an expectation, but I’m sure the expectation the club and everyone else puts on him won’t be the same as he puts on himself.” “I’m sure he expects and hopes to do well, so hopefully that is the case for him.”"
Lescott went on to point out how the Saints are renowned for developing players like Borussia Dortmund do in Germany. He added:
"“It’s not a short term project. They haven’t signed him just for the last six months of the season.”“The model that Southampton are using is similar to that of Dortmund, in regards to trying to recruit younger players to try to develop them.“So I’m sure that’s the case with him and I’m sure he just wants to play.”"
The ex-defender also stated playing in the Premier League is a huge opportunity for Sulemana. He said:
"“The opportunity to play in the Premier League regardless of who it’s for, is a big opportunity for everyone so hopefully he does well and shines a great light on Ghanaian football.”"
Can Southampton attacker Sulemana impress under Ruben Selles?
Sulemana will be hopeful of making his second start for Southampton when they face Chelsea in the league on Saturday, February 18. The St. Mary’s outfit notably go into the match without a manager.
The Hampshire-based club have tasked first-team lead coach Ruben Selles with taking charge of the club on Saturday after sacking Nathan Jones. It remains to be seen if the Spaniard intends to start the 21-year-old against the Blues.