This article is part of Football FanCast’s Loan Watch series, which takes a closer look at those players who are aiming to galvanise their careers away from the spotlight of their parent club.
Back in the summer, Southampton took the decision to send Josh Sims out on loan to New York Red Bulls after a mixed 2018/19 campaign.
The 22-year-old made 17 Championship appearances for Reading in the first half of last season, before returning to St Mary’s for the second half of the campaign where he made seven appearances under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Sims – a product of the Southampton academy that has housed the likes of Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott – made an impact upon his return to the south coast, with one performance in particular in the 2-1 win over Tottenham putting him on the lips of some fans on Twitter.
However, Hasenhuttl saw fit to ship the youngster back out on loan in the summer to NY Red Bulls, where he has been disappointing to say the least.
The forward has failed to find the back of the net in seven games for the MLS side, and has just a single assist to show for his efforts.
If he can’t make an impact over in the US, then the chances are that Sims will also struggle in the Premier League.
Putting that sentiment aside for a moment, Sims’ exit has delivered a silver lining in the form of one man’s resurgence at the club – Sofiane Boufal.
The Morocco international – who himself spent last season out on loan – has returned to St Mary’s in determined fashion.
Boufal insisted on staying at the club back in the summer despite interest from “some other club” as he mentions in this article from The Daily Echo, and it has proven fruitful for the flamboyant attacker.
“I wasn’t nervous [to meet Hasenhuttl] because I was very, very focused on staying here – even if some other club wanted me.”
He has reintegrated himself into Hasenhuttl’s XI, starting half of the Saints’ eight Premier League games this season and coming off the bench on three occasions.
In those appearances, he has assisted two goals, and has also drawn praise from his manager and teammates alike.
Hasenhuttl singled the 26-year-old out for praise after the 1-1 draw against Manchester United, saying: “He [Sofiane] makes a really good game I think. In the first-half he was unlucky in a few scenes, good chances, but also in the second-half he showed how important he is for our game.”
Angus Gunn has also praised Boufal, describing the former Lille man as “like a new signing”.
Seeing as Sims and Boufal both tend to play on the wing, the former’s exit has proven to be beneficial for the latter – with the academy graduate out of the picture, the Moroccan has seemingly taken his chance.