It is looking increasingly likely that Sofiane Boufal will be on his way out of Southampton in the coming days and weeks having been left out of the squad for the pre-season tour to China, and manager Mark Hughes may well be lining up potential replacements.
The Morocco international’s future was always in doubt when Hughes excluded him from first-team training and all matchday squads following an altercation between him and the attacker during and following the 3-2 defeat against Chelsea at St Mary’s back in April – especially when the Welshman was given the job on a full-time basis.
The 24-year-old may well be on his way back to France given his success with Lille there previously, and despite already signing Mohamed Elyounoussi, the Saints boss may well look to bring another wide player to the south coast outfit.
One player that should have caught his attention at the 2018 World Cup is Krasnodar’s Viktor Claesson, who scored 12 goals and provided a further eight assists in 34 appearances in all competitions for the Russian club last term.
Able to play on either wing, as a No.10 or even as a centre-forward, the £7.2m-rated attacker showcased his defensive abilities in his nation’s win against Switzerland on Tuesday that set up a quarter-final tie with England, making four clearances and six interceptions, while he made two key passes in the final third, too.
If Hughes is looking for a player who can bring creativity and a goal threat to his team while proving to be effective from a defensive point of view as well to replace Boufal, there are likely to be few better options available in the summer market than Claesson.