This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Forgotten Southampton attacker Sofiane Boufal returned to pre-season training with the club on Monday following a year away on loan, as well as an extended break because of his exploits with Morocco at the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
The 2016 signing left St Mary’s last summer for a temporary spell with Celta Vigo in Spain having fallen out with Mark Hughes during the 2017/18 campaign, but he is now back with the south coast outfit and perhaps could get the chance to impress current manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
A report in The Telegraph last month said that Saints are willing to listen to offers for the 25-year-old, but there are clearly those among the club’s fan-base that hope the African star is given another chance to impress.
Some supporters said exactly that on Twitter in June, which is hardly surprising given the talent he possesses – even if he is nowhere near consistent enough – with Lionel Messi failing to successfully complete as many dribbles as his own tally of 144 in the Spanish top flight last term.
Four goals and three assists in 59 appearances in all competitions for Southampton is proof of that inconsistency, and it is especially frustrating when you recall his genius solo goal against West Bromwich Albion.
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The south coast outfit have the likes of Nathan Redmond and new boy Moussa Djenepo fighting for spots on the wing, but you can’t help but feel that Boufal could also potentially have a role to play if he gets his head right and shows Hasenhuttl what he is capable of.
The fact he was filmed laughing and joking with Redmond and performing a brilliant slide tackle during the club’s pre-season trip to Ireland is certainly a sign that he is in good spirits, and that will surely boost his chances of being able to try and fight for his future in the next couple of weeks.
It’s been a scorcher! ☀️??
Watch #SaintsFC putting the work in on day two in Dublin:
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) July 23, 2019
At the end of the day the decision comes down to the Austrian manager, but this recent video will have been a welcomed sight for some members of the St Mary’s faithful.