If we're going to get £3.5 million for him I'd rather maximise his talent till January and lose him on a free. The money isn't substantial and I feel if he makes a positive contribution in the first half of the season that could earn the club a lot more money through a higher position in the table.
The truth of the matter is Boufal has been at the club for 4 years now and hasn't managed to cement a position in the team. For whatever reason, managers haven't fancied him.
Ralph is by far the best manager we've had since Koeman and Poch and I trust his judgement more so than the previous.
However, I would like to see if Boufal could help us in the attacking midfield position because I still don't think we have enough creativity to breakdown teams that sit back--especially at when playing at home! If Boufal could pitch himself to Ralph to fill that void and deliver before January then I think he still has a future!
One thing a lot of people forget about with Boufal is his dribbling. Not many players in the world can match his dribbling ability (not even Messi! statistically). If Ralph can nurture that dribbling in scenarios where it's most relevant and polish his end product that would get us to definitely put us in contention for European qualification.
The only potential issue that Boufal will have with Ralph is his fitness to deal with the press. If he's willing to put in the work defensively then I'd keep. But it might be too late now I think.
For once I partially agree with Nick. I think Hojbjerg represents an era of Southampton were poor management (top to bottom) and survival were the main traits of the clubs for that period. I personally think he'll come good at Spurs and it was probably (for him) the right time to move on from Soton.
What I don't agree with is the sentiment towards his contribution to the club. Yes, it's not comparable to departures in the pre-Puel era but he definitely made a decent contribution in keeping us up and ultimately bringing some accountability to the players and pride back to the fans in those very dark periods. I wish him all the best and I hope his time at Soton is remembered as a positive part of his career.
I think we definitely need to replace him. Everyone knows my position on JWP. I think he's a good hard worker but that's not enough at the elite level...you have to bring something to the table too and I'm not seeing that atm. Romeu is good but is still too slow on and off the ball. He's at best a decent squad player. Outside of JWP and Romeu, I can't really see other central midfielders in the squad who can challenge for those spots, which is worrying! What do we do if they're injured?
I personally think we should cash in on Lemina too and try and get two high-quality central midfielders. One more attacking/creative and the other more defensive and athletic. These two players will be key engines to the team and moreover strengthen the spine.
I think Smallbone can do a job too by stepping up and keeping the other players on their toes.
Also, think we need a decent left-back to cover and challenge Bertrand. I don't rate Vokins and I think Bertrand has become too comfortable the past few years.
Lastly, if we can't get the best of Boufal and Djenepo then we need to find replacements for them too. For the level of talent both players have there's a minimum level of consistency needed week-in-week-out and I'm not seeing it at the moment. If we look at Danny Ings he's come in and done the business after bedding in his first season. The reason is simple...he's a talented finisher and his attitude is fantastic!
Boufal, in particular, needs to get his head out of his arse and bloody deliver! He has no excuse playing second-fiddle to Redmond and Armstrong! If you're not able to keep players of that quality with his level of talent out of the starting eleven it means that you're not working hard enough (on and off the pitch)...End of!
He has to want to be the best and prove to Ralph, the fans and ultimately himself that he wants to succeed. If not, leave and free up the wages for someone else who wants to make the most of the opportunity.
Lastly, aside from Ings, the jury's out on our Strikeforce. I'm hoping Che Adams improves drastically from last season. I think his target has to be a minimum of 10 goals next season. Obafemi will come but he needs to start growing up and learning as much as possible from Ings and the coaching staff.
Here are some suggestions for central midfield:
Eze Eberechi (Club QPR in Championship): Attacking Midfielder - Stat (14 Goals and 8 assists). He's only 22 years old!
Joe Aribo (Clubs Rangers in SPL): Central Midfield a bit more defensive- Stats (9 Goals). He's 24 years old.
A brilliant defensive display from the lads and showcase of team spirit.
I agree with most on this forum, Jack Stephens and KWP, in particular, were immense! This display really tells you that the team is completely bought into Hassenhuttl's style and tactics--especially considering their morale after the Leicester defeat.
However, playing against quality like Man City really exposed the technical deficiencies within our squad and only reinforces the type of quality of players needed for us to reach a higher level.
What frustrates me most is the fact that players like Boufal, Lemina, Redmond and Djenepo have enough quality on the ball to challenge the City players. The problem is their attitude (apart from Redmond and possibly Djenepo) to focus and maintain a minimum level of consistency along with their willingness to trackback for the team.
I just don't get why a player wouldn't want to do that in order to better themselves? It must be fitness and laziness.
Lemina is a buffoon who is wasting his career! People with his attitude need to learn failure the hard way, unfortunately. I'd love us to sell him and replace him with Aribo. Aribo is currently being groomed by Stevie G in the SPL and surely will need to take the next in his career in the EPL. Southampton is definitely the ideal destination especially now that Hojbjerg is leaving. He's only 23 and will likely have a high sell-on value if things work out.
On another topic. The video below is for Nick.
I hope this settles our long-standing debate about the importance of attack and defence.
On balance, the attack is slightly more important than defence. In the case of Saints FC, this is proved by the fact that we've partially replaced Pelle and Mane with Ings and Redmond. I still think we need another striker to ease the burden on Ings, as well as a proper playmaker to help out Redmond.
I don't want or have time to dig into why and quite frankly what I think doesn't really matter. However, I will say this:
NICK! I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THIS FANZINE FOR CLOSE TO 5-6 YEARS. FOR ONCE CAN YOU DO THE RIGHT THING FOR FOR SOUTHAMPTON FOOTBALL CLUB BY NOT SUPPORTING A ROTTEN ESTABLISHMENT. THERE IS TOO MUCH AT STAKE.
Ralph, unfortunately, has to go. He's definitely a quality manager but, for some reason, he came at the wrong time and has clearly lost the dressing room.
For me, I'd be happy with relegation if it means Gao and Katherina leaving the club for good. I suspect if we truly want to stay up we'll need at least 60-70 million to spend in Jan on two quality centre backs and a decent box-to-box midfielder who has the same level of talent as Lemina but an infinitely better attitude.
Lastly, managerial prospects that spring to mind are:
Tony Pulis - Not necessarily first choice but you know what you'll get with him. No player will get away with murder with him as manager.
Marcelino - He would be a major, major coup but unfortunately wouldn't be attracted to us because of our poison-chalice owners.
Quique Setién - Another major coup. However, I think he's holding out for Barcelona. Hopefully, Koeman gets the job instead once Valverde leaves.
Van Bronckhorst - He might bring hunger and dynamism to the squad and has a point to prove in a more established league such as the EPL. He comes from the same philosophy as Koeman but with a better win percentage when comparing their times at Feyenoord. You never know!
Everyone keeps banging on about the lack of leaders in defence but were more than happy to see Fonte leave not too long. No we're seeing the ramifications...
This is what I had to say at the time of his departure:
"Southampton FC is at a crossroad. The reason why I'm so emotionally invested in Fonte's departure isn't just because he's an excellent footballer and a great servant to the club. It's more because of what he represents and I would like to think the qualities he's demonstrated over the years is a reflection of Southampton FC.
We may not be the most prestigious club in the world to play for but above all else we have demonstrated to everyone in the footballing world the idea of success. Success isn't necessarily about winning it's more about the manner in which one picks themself up from failure. Fonte epitomises that story and is the foundation of the dressing room.
While it makes economic sense to sell him (especially when you factor his age) it will have wider ramifications. It will send out a message to the fans and the football community that we are no longer a football club operating on the principles mentioned earlier but rather as a profit maximising business machine no longer connected to the game.
Even if he does want to leave what upsets me most is the manner of his departure. This could have been handled much better and in a more sensitive way for the fans at the very least.
If you think I'm being naive or too ideological let me ask you this:
- Would Man Utd let Giggs or Scholes leave in this manner? - Would Barcelona let Xavi leave in this manner? - Would Liverpool let Gerrard leave in this manner? - Would Chelsea let Lampard or Terry leave in this manner? - Would even Watford let Troy Deeney leave in this manner?
All of the above names make/made up the core of their respective club's dressing rooms. They're all characters and Fonte is one of our own!
It's about the bigger picture and I don't see that from the board at the moment."
Get this buffoon out of the club already. Once we get rid of him, Austin, Carillo, Cedric and most probably Boufal we'll have a clean slate from Les Reed era of transfer dealings. It's clear to see a lot of these players never truly wanted to play for Southampton. They were either here for the wages or most probably expecting a move to the Top 6 club a couple of years down the line.
For once I want us to purchase genuine talents (like Boufal and Lemina) that actually want to play for us. It's a real shame Lemina and Boufal didn't work out. Under Ralph they really could have elevated their games to a different level.
As a football fan, I watch football to be entertained and most importantly to have fun. When I watch players like Lemina, Boufal, Redmond and to a lesser degree Hojbjerg I'm excited to watch Southampton FC. I commend hard work--especially from players like JWP--but if that was all there is to footy I wouldn't be interested. I'd rather just go to gym...
The reality you're more like to remember Pele/Maradona/Brazil Ronaldo/Zidane than a Gerd Muller. Even though Gerd Muller's goal record was far superior to the aforementioned players. The simple reason is that they are special players with the ability to light up games in such a way that make you excited about football.
The player that has done that the most for me in a Saints FC shirt is Le Tiss. I just feel a massive void of excitement has been left since he retired. Players like Boufal and Lemina had the closest talent to what Le Tiss offered but for some reason, both are just prima donnas more interested in moving to bigger club and posting on Instagram--instead of just playing football!
Nonsense he hasn't got time on his side. At his current age, he should have made a lot more appearances. Please bear in mind JWP has already made 234 apps and he's only a year older. How he's managed that number of appearances is beyond belief considering his lack of talent!
Nonetheless, Gallagher could have got this move 2 years ago and at the very least built up his experience in the Championship in a similar vein to James Maddison who had made 113 apps before his move to Leicester. Maddison is currently being touted for potential moves to clubs like Man U.QQ
Instead, he got comfortable playing in the reserves staying in the Southampton youth bubble!
I genuinely had high hopes for Gallagher. I thought with a little more confidence, toughness and hunger to improve he could have replaced Pelle in the longer term.
Hopefully he learns from his experience at Saints and kicks on at Blackburn or Wigan.
We could get at the very least 80-90 million for the above players. That would more than enough funds for a decent centre-half, right-back, another striker and even a left-back. The rest can be filled by the academy.
Agree with mostly everyone apart from Boufal and Hesketh. When you see players like Eriksen, Zaha, Pogba, Maguire all being touted for 80 million and above it would be crazy to sell Boufal at this stage especially under a decent manager like Hasenhuttl. If he and Lemina in particular get on with Ralph and buy into his philosophy we'd definitely have enough quality in our midfield to challenge for the Europa League.
The truth of the matter is we don't have his attacking talent in our squad at the moment. The closest player to Boufal's quality is Redmond but I still think they're very different in style and can be played together.
Lastly, Hesketh needs a chance to prove himself in the summer. If he can't get into squad by January then we should look to sell--even if it's a loan deal with a view to buying. Also, agree with SanMarco on JWP. If we get a silly offer I think we should take it!
schatfield : I never wanted to get rid of Bednarak. I just thought he needed first team experience to be in the manager's long-term plans--especially if we get one (or possibly two quality centre-backs). I definitely rate him over Hoedt and Stephens but I'm wary of putting too much pressure on him too soon. Do I need to remind anyone of what happened to Gazzaniga...
I have always rated Nathan Redmond's ability. My main issue was his negativity while playing under Pellegrino i.e. passing the ball back constantly, not committing defenders that sort of stuff. The very fact that Guardiola had to take him aside last season spoke volumes about the type of philosophy being employed by Pellegrino.
Nonetheless, fair plays to our board for getting Ralph H. I honestly thought he was beyond our reach given our position and his success in the Bundesliga. Let's hope we don't mess this one up as we did with Poch and Koeman. Look at how Spurs are trying to retain Poch. Our board needs to play hardball with Ralph when the time comes.
I genuinely think we can put ourselves in contention for the top 7 title next season once he's had enough time to get us to safety.
This club should be competing with the likes of Everton, Leicester, West Ham and Wolves. Our squad is decent enough to get a top 10 finish under a decent manager but needs major polishing with our attack and defence.
Below was my view of the club's strategy last summer (the article is called "Saints To Launch Summer Squad Reshuffle").
I find it insane that we didn't go in for Hasenhuttl last summer. He was clearly available and we were definitely a more attractive outfit back then than we are now. I really hope the club back him in January and we do a mass overhaul in the summer with the squad as mentioned below.
I get the impression he already has players in mind that he wants. He should try to convince Ademola Lookman to join in January and get Cahill/Christensen on loan. That should be enough to get us out of relegation.
Nevertheless, I'll be positive and grateful that we've had our first back-to-back wins since April last year :)
"I think before we even consider wholesale squad changes we need to consider what the club wants? Is it year-on-year mid-table finishes or pushing for Europe? (or more cynically just survival).
If the former then we should definitely stick with Mark Hughes. He's done nothing short of a minor miracle keeping us up.
If the latter then we need to consider hiring a young manager with a solid track record. I think the following should be considered (in order of preference and being realistically considering us):
Slaviša Jokanović (Fulham Manager) Željko Buvač (assistant coach to Jurgen Klopp and old teammate) Rui Faria (former assistant coach to Mourinho since 2001) Brendan Rogers (I know very ironic!) David Wagner (currently manager of Huddersfield and also worked under Klopp) Marcelino (currently managed Valencia to 4th but worth a punt with more money in the EPL) Vincenzo Montella Marco Silva Ralph Hasenhüttl (Currently manages RB Leipzig. Highly unlikely but always worth a punt)
In terms of players we need to sell and buy but in as someone mentioned in a phased way. Here's my proposal:
Jan Bednarak (needs a solid season on-loan in the Championship or EPL) Maya Yoshida (is getting older. may need to reconsider being a backup or be sold) Ryan Bertrand (his head is no longer in it. I think he wants one last payday). Needs to be phased out with Matt Targett/Kieran Tierney as his replacement. Steven Davis (too old now). Should be replaced by Shaqiri or Wilshere James Ward Prowse (has been given enough opportunities. time to cut our losses) Dusan Tadic (is getting older. likely to leave this summer. Should be replaced by Boufal or Boufal's replacement) Forster Clasie Harrison Reed Carillo (should go out on loan) Sam Gallagher (not EPL quality) Charlie Austin (too injury-prone. may have to accept himself as an impact sub) Redmond (too inconsistent and not strong enough on the ball)
Christian Benteke to replace Pelle (was never replaced!). Might need to consider alternatives but he's the best I can think of at this moment.
Adama Traore/Quincy Promes (both will bring pace and directness to our attack). Traore is younger and may have a better sell-on value in the longer term.
Hakim Ziyech and Shaqiri (replace Davis and JWP)
One (possibly two) Solid centre back with leadership qualities i.e. Harry Maguire, James Tarkowski etc.
Backup goalkeeper for McCarthy
Backup right back for Cedric. Maybe it's time to see whether Yan Valery can step up to the first team. "
Brilliant result!!! So happy for the club and in particular the fans. This type of performance was long overdue.
You have to commend the positivity, hunger and belief Ralph H has bought to the squad already. It's frightening how much of an impact strong leadership can influence individuals. Long may it continue!!
One thing not to forget is we need to thank Ralph Kruger and the wider board for making swift decisive decisions. Congrats to the board too! :)