Southampton have had a disappointing start to their 2016/17 season. They are in the relegation places, winless after four matches.
Similar to other summers, the Saints also lost two of their star performers – Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane.
However, this time, they also signed impressive winger Nathan Redmond and broke their previous transfer record to sign Moroccan attacking midfielder Sofiane Boufal from French side Lille.
The French-born player originally started his career at Ligue 2 club Angers, rising through the youth ranks and featuring for the first team on 54 occassions.
He transferred to Ligue 1 side Lille in January 2015 and immediately had suitors across Europe tracking his progress.
He scored 12 goals in 35 appearances in his first and only full season with Les Dogues.
Despite attracting the interest of La Liga giants Barcelona as well as Premier League runners up Tottenham, Boufal actually signed for the the Saints on August 29th 2016.
Claude Puel will be hoping he can bring some of his magic to the south coast in the coming weeks to help reinvigorate Southampton’s slow start.
And here are five reasons why Southampton have bought shrewdly by bringing Boufal to St. Mary’s Stadium…
The new Southampton playmaker is known for his sensational quick feet and his trickery on the ball.
Often likened to former Lille legend Eden Hazard, who now also plies his trade in the Premier League, the Moroccan’s technique with the ball is frightening.
He can take players on at will and is firmly assured in his ability and the Saints fans have reason to be excited.
He is seen as one of the hottest properties in world football and yet the Moroccan wonderkid is still only 22 years old.
Boufal has been brought up in France during his whole playing career before his big money move to the English south coast this summer.
However, at only 20-years-old he made the move from Angers to Lille, going straight into the pressures of Ligue 1 football and adapted admirably so there’s every reason to expect big things from Boufal.
Often something not levelled at young attacking midfielders is their vision and intelligence to make the right decisions.
At only 22 though, Boufal seems to have that in abundance.
He can spot and make a pass, not too dis-similarly to Eden Hazard.
With the rapid Shane Long playing up front, Boufal can expect lots of exceptional forward runs, giving him lots of opportunities to create and assist.
Amongst some of his best attributes, the Saints fans can look forward to plenty of goals scored by their new man.
He scored an impressive 14 times for Lille in 43 league appearances, averaging just under one every three games.
The 22-year-old is calm and composed in front of goal and has a silky touch so expect to see the net bulging many occasions this season!
His ball control is so good, we had to mention it twice!
In all seriousness, when he’s not doing the tricks and flicks, Boufal is able to hold the ball and keep it at his feet better than some of the best!
He has an uncanny ability to get himself out of tight spots so if Southampton are ever holding on to victory with minutes to spare, don’t be surprised to see the youngster hold the ball up in the corner for most of that time.
He’s definitely one to watch and will no doubt prove to be a very shrewd signing for the Saints.