Boufal Or Sims ?
Tuesday, 7th Jan 2020 10:15
With the January transfer window well now open, there are rumours of departures as well as arrivals at St Mary's in the next few weeks, one touted to leave is Josh Sims, but will Ralph Hasenhuttl decide to reverse his decision back in August.
With a plethora of wide men in the squad, back in August Ralph Hasenhuttl had a decision to make with the need to trim the wage bill albeit for a short time and get people out on loan.
Last season Sofiane Boufal had been way down on the list of Saints fans rated players whereas Josh Sims although he had had a disastrous first half of the season on loan at Reading and was recalled early due to a failure to get much game time, had forced his way back into the reckoning and played a part in the final two months of the season.
So when the squad came back at the start of July Sofiane Boufal would not have won many votes in a poll of Saints supporters if they were asked who they would prefer to stay or go between the pair.
Boufal's star rose back in July when he scored in a pre season win at Feyenoord and showed his talents in a home friendly and suddenly some had changed their mind about the player and were claiming he could be a success here after all.
It seemed Ralph Hasenhuttl felt the same and strangely allowed Josh Sims to join New York Red Bulls on loan, strange because there were barely six weeks of the MLS regular season left and Sims would have to sign until January 1st.
Red Bulls season did not end on a high and Sims season was over by early October meaning he had to kick his heels without being able to play at St Mary's for over two months, hence this was a very strange loan move if Saints wanted Sims to get game time.
Boufal's season started well initially with an assist after coming on at Brighton and a couple of reasonable games in the starting line up, but sadly it has been downhill since.
In his defence it can be said he was playing in a struggling side, but even since Saints resurgence he has not been great, yes he has had some decent runs, but usually they come to nothing and he has failed to score and only has two assists to his name the last coming at Sheffield United back in September.
His performance against Huddersfield was perhaps reminiscent of his first couple of seasons here where he clearly had talent but too often he had no end product, either hitting poor crosses or trying to take on a man once too often and losing the ball.
Certainly they both have contrasting styles, Boufal is full of trickery whereas Sims is about pace and is more direct, perhaps Ralph will feel that he has enough trickery in the squad this time and that he has not enough directness.
Both players are at crossroads in their career, at 26 Boufal should really be the player that he threatened to become four years ago when Saints signed him in 2016, but he has never fulfilled that potential in anything like the number of games he really should have done and you have to question whether he is suited to the Premier League and would be better on the continent where the game is played at a slower less frantic pace that suits his way of playing more.
Sims will turn 23 in March and he also has not quite achieved the success he should have done after bursting on the scene three years ago, sometimes he flatters to deceive wth his pace and fails to deliver.
So Ralph Hasenhuttl has to do some thinking in the next week or so, there is clearly not room for both in the squad and both are likely to be only used as impact players off the bench going forward, so will he opt to stick with Boufal and put Sims back out on loan for the rest of the season or reverse his thinking from August.
From a financial point of view it lakes sense for Boufal to go, he is on high wages and Saints will be hoping that with there being only a year to go on his contract come the summer they might finally be able to get shot of him, if he stays here his value is going to drop, whereas a successful loan spell in France for instance might increase that value.
Sims too will have a year left on his contract at the end of the season, but he is young and could still become the player he looked likely to be, but to be blunt if he does not force his way into Ralph's thinking this season then we are likely to look to move him on n the summer and get a fee for him whilst his stock is still high rather than risk losing him for free.
In the summer of 2021 when his current contract expires Sims will be 24, so Saints will not be entitled to any fee should he see his contract out.
So like Boufal Saints have a dilemma over Sims, they have to decide whether he can make it here and if so offer him a new deal or they have to cut their losses and run and perhaps get a fee of sorts in the summer of 2020.
That being the case I would think that the club have to send Boufal out on loan and give Sims the chance to prove his worth and then in the summer they will either have to offer him that new deal or sell him.
Personally I think that Boufal has had enough time to show his worth and we need to cut our losses, I do not think he will be good enough long term, Sims perhaps, but he too has not yet convinced any of the four managers he has played under at St Mary's and time is running out, I think it probablt that neither will be here next season, but Sims maybe has one final chance left.
So who do you think should stay or go, vote in the poll below.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
Letters from Wiltshire #18 by wessex_exile
Trump has finally conceded defeat, albeit in a childlike, begrudging and typically ungracious manner, but at least things are moving on now, and hopefully the beginning of a new, less adversarial era in world affairs. There was an interesting article on one of the news websites this morning looking at how the transition for other administrations have gone – none as poorly (so far) as this, but still some amusing anecdotes nevertheless. Apparently, ahead of George W Bush taking up residence, the departing Clinton team went around the White House removing all the W’s from keyboards – very childish, but quite funny too…
Letters from Wiltshire #17 by wessex_exile
So I never actually imagined more than two weeks after the event that Trump and his attack-dog “Hot Mess” Giuliani would still be refusing to acknowledge that Biden has won the US Presidential election, but there you have it. Closer to home, we are just past halfway through our circuit-breaker 4-week lockdown, and most of the graphs suggest things are slowly improving, but nowhere near a rate that would see figures return to the pre-October levels. Much closer to home, Alfie has been in self-isolation for the last 14 days because one of his teachers tested positive – delighted to say we have both passed through that period without developing symptoms…and without killing each other either 😊
Letters from Wiltshire #16 by wessex_exile
Good morning everyone. Outside the football bubble, and across the pond, we have the soon to be ex-President of the United States walled up in his White House bunker, inexorably going through the Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief…and in a particularly undignified and un-statesman like manner. Clearly we’ve had Denial by the bucket-load, Anger as he lashes out firing those he perceives as disloyal, Bargaining as his legal team try and force recounts of perfectly valid election results, and no doubt a huge amount of Depression as he sulked in silence for the best part of a week. Now perhaps, as he nearly slips up when eventually breaking radio silence to address the press, we see the beginnings of Acceptance. If I’m honest, I’d be quite happy for Trump to keep this up and make the transition as embarrassing as possible for himself and his supporters – and if the police could eventually drag him out of the White House in hand-cuffs, all the better.
Letters from Wiltshire #15 by wessex_exile
Well, there’s a turn up for the books, the mighty U’s unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by lowly Marine AFC, four tiers below us in the league pyramid. These things happen, and we’ve done it to others on more than a few occasions, but the manner of the result on Saturday is what rankles the most. Virtually our strongest line-up available, but the complete lack of any urgency right from the outset was dreadful to see. Even as we reached squeaky bum time into the 2nd half, having drawn level, still we ponderously passed aimless triangles in midfield for far too long. Someone has to pay for that debacle, so let’s hope it’s the auld enemy Southend tonight in the Pointless Trophy…
Letters from Wiltshire #14 by wessex_exile
Welcome to Lockdown #2, and as I write this blog, an as yet uncertain future with the orange loon threatening to refuse to hand over the keys to the White House and calling on all his white supremacist mates to rise up in arms. Moving on swiftly from chump to champ, Chairman Robbie has again addressed the U’s faithful, with another clear, concise statement on the current situation and how it may or may not affect Colchester United. I know in the past he hasn’t been everyone’s cup of tea, but I do think an awful lot of people are warming to him because of the leadership he has shown through this crisis, and long may it last!
[ Vote here ]