Farewell To Michael Obafemi
Wednesday, 1st Sep 2021 07:36
Saints have said their goodbyes to Michael Obafemi as the Republic Of Ireland International joined Swansea City on the last day of the transfer window for an undisclosed fee, not the ending that many would have hoped for a little under 3 years ago.
The news that Michael Obafemi has departed St Mary's and joined Swansea City on a permanent deal was not unexpected by Saints supporters, but it did have a touch of disappointment about it as it was only 3 years ago that Southampton supporters were amazed by his emergence into the first team and had high hoped for his future.
The first sighting of the then 17 year old was in January 2018 when he came on as an 82nd minute sub in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's replacing Manolo Gabbiadini.
That would be his only appearance in the first team that season and he would have to wait until November when he would have an 17 minute cameo off the bench at Manchester City, suddenly he was in first team contention and he would make his full debut in the League Cup at Leicester City later than month.
Saints were struggling in the Premier League and manager Mark Hughes was getting desperate and Obafemi would make his full Premier league debut against Manchester United at St Mary's, Obafemi led an explosive start that saw us 2-0 up within 20 minutes, but pegged back by half time to what would be the final score of 2-2.
Saints fans were starting to think they had a talent on their hands, but Obafemi's next game would be under a new manager, Hughes sacked after the United game and replaced by Ralph Hasenhuttl.
At Huddersfield he was back on the bench, but came on after 65 minutes to score in a 3-1 win, but just as he was getting going injury struck and he would play only once more this season, coming on at half time away to Arsenal, but only lasting 20 minutes before coming off again.
This would set a pattern for Obafemi, he seemed to have muscle problems that were put down to growing pains, but the rumour's were that all were not what they seemed off the field.
2019/20 would see him play regularly and when he scored a superb goal in a 2-0 win at Chelsea many thought his problems would be behind him and he played a part as Ralph Hasenhuttl's side moved up the Premier League including a last minute equaliser at Old Trafford.
Little did we know that his Saints career in the First team was almost at an end, the following season he would play only 5 times all off the bench and totalling only 62 minutes with no goals and Ralph Hasenhuttl would talk about his need to be more professional in his approach.
Indeed he almost went to Swansea City on loan in the January but injury again hit and the deal fell through.
This season saw Ralph Hasenhuttl give up, at 21 Obafemi had not progressed in the way that the manager and club would have hoped and although injury played a part in that, his professionalism off the pitch was allegedly also a problem.
Some Saints fans would have hoped that his departure to Swansea would have been a loan deal and that his career at St Mary's was not yet over, but the manager clearly felt that he had a decision to make on a player with only a year left on his deal and he made it.
Good luck to Michael Obafemi, there is a good player in there and he certainly has the quality to play in the Premier League again, especially if he can find the right application.
At Southampton he lost his way and couldn't quite throw off the consequences of that, he needed a new start and hopefully at Swansea City he can have that and prosper.
The fee is surprisingly small, said to be around £2 million and in this cash strapped times for all club's for Saints that is a little more money in the coffers and a wage of the books.
It is a sad ending in that we hoped that he would become a Saints legend, that is not to be the case, but perhaps now he can go on and fill his potential.
His Record for Saints was as follows
Premier League 9 games plus 23 as sub 4 goals
Photo: Action Images
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