Manuel Pellegrini eyes move for Mario Lemina who flopped at the London Stadium

According to reports in The Mirror, West Ham United are lining up a summer move for Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina, who is rated at £13.5m by Transfermarkt, but could face competition from Napoli and Manchester City for his signature.

What’s the word, then?

Mario Lemina sits on ground after FA Cup semi-final defeat

Well, The Mirror says that the Irons are keen to bring the Gabon international to the London Stadium, with new manager Manuel Pellegrini wanting fresher and younger legs in the middle of the park next season – something that will please supporters, who have been quick to respond to a link with an exciting 22-year-old attacker with one fan saying “he reminds me of Dybala”.

The Mirror says that Saints boss Mark Hughes faces a battle to keep hold of the 24-year-old, who showed glimpses of the quality he has in his locker during the 2017/18 campaign following his move from Juventus last summer.

Pellegrini’s need to strengthen his midfield options has become even more of a priority following the news that Manuel Lanzini could be out for around nine months having ruptured his ACL while in World Cup training with Argentina ahead of the tournament in Russia later this month.

How did Lemina do last season?

It was a difficult campaign for the 24-year-old and the team as they struggled down the wrong end of the table under Mauricio Pellegrino, before Hughes led them to safety.

The Gabonese midfielder suffered a couple of injury niggles throughout the campaign that clearly hampered his performances at times, and while he produced some brilliant displays, he also endure his fair share of poor ones as well – including in the 3-0 defeat to West Ham at the London Stadium in March, where he was dominated by Irons man Cheikhou Kouyate in the centre of the park.

Lemina certainly has that energy and ability to take on opponents and bring the ball forward however, as proved by the fact that he successfully completed 55 of the 62 dribbles he attempted in 25 Premier League outings, as per WhoScored.com.

Would he be a good signing for West Ham?

He certainly would be, and perhaps a more realistic one than someone like Paris Saint-Germain’s Javier Pastore given they are struggling to meet his £190,000-a-week wage demands, according to Sky Sports.

The 24-year-old would certainly help plug the gap that Lanzini’s absence will undoubtedly leave, although Southampton are likely to demand big money for a player they signed less than 12 months ago.