This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to The Telegraph, Manchester United have registered their interest in Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina over a potential move this summer.
The report claims the Gabon international has informed Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl that he wants to leave the club and that United, along with Arsenal, have enquired over the 25-year-old’s availability.
It adds that Southampton are still hoping to recoup much of the £18m they initially spent on signing Lemina but have so far failed to see their valuation be met.
Despite his injury troubles and inconsistent form, the glimpses of form Lemina has displayed on the south coast make him a tantalising prospect for United to potentially bring in.
Whilst Paul Pogba has been stealing the headlines in recent weeks amidst his ‘will he stay or will he go’ transfer saga, the departure of fellow midfielder Ander Herrera may be just as sorely felt in the long-term.
The Spain international was a combative presence at the heart of United’s midfield last season, and his performances under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw the Norwegian exclaim that Herrera’s “energy and tenaciousness is vital for us”.
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That “energy” and “tenaciousness” is exactly what United would be getting with Lemina. Valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt, the 25-year-old is similarly all-action in his displays and never ceases to get himself involved in the midfield battle.
Lemina averaged 2.3 tackles and 2 interceptions per game last season, whilst Herrera recorded almost similar numbers with 2.5 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game. Both live to break up the opposition’s play, and at 25, Lemina still has a whole lot more room to grow.
Indeed, after impressing in the weeks following his arrival at Southampton in October 2017, former Premier League star Wayne Bridge said: “Lemina is such a great player: his workrate, the way he gets up and down the pitch. His all-round play is great.”
Despite having a clutch of talented players in their side, one of the biggest criticisms surrounding United last term was their attitude and lack of work ethic. In Lemina, the Red Devils would be bringing in a player who commits himself to the cause week-in, week-out and offers them that much-needed bite they will be missing with Herrera’s exit.