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Southampton: Crocker can unearth Saints’ own Saka in Aboukhlal

Southampton are reportedly considering a move for Toulouse winger Zakaria Aboukhlal ahead of the January transfer window, and he could be Ralph Hasenhuttl’s own version of Arsenal star Bukayo Saka should he make the move to St Mary’s.

According to Football Insider, both Southampton and Leicester City are keen on signing the young winger after an impressive start to the season with Toulouse in Ligue 1.

It is suggested that both Premier League sides will keep tabs on the 22-year-old ahead of next month’s World Cup, where Aboukhlal is expected to feature for Morocco.

Toulouse only signed Aboukhlal from AZ Alkmaar during the summer transfer window for a fee of £2m but they could soon lose the youngster after his superb start to life in France, with three goals and three assists in 12 league appearances so far this season.

It is easy to see why Hasenhuttl and Southampton are keen on attacking reinforcement, considering that they have managed just 11 goals in the Premier League so far this season, while only Che Adams and Joe Aribo have scored more than once in the top flight.

Should Southampton bring Aboukhlal to the Premier League in January, he could prove to be Hasenhuttl’s very own Saka, with FBref suggesting that the England international is the fourth-most similar player to the Moroccan in terms of style of play.

Should Southampton sign Aboukhlal?





So far this season, the two wingers have registered very similar numbers in terms of expected assists (both 1.6), shots per 90 (2.57 vs 2.42) and successful dribbles (14 vs 16).

WhoScored also suggests that both Saka and Aboukhlal like to cut inside, provide layoffs and play short passes, so it is clear that they are both technically gifted wingers.

Considering the Arsenal man has been one of the star performers in Mikel Arteta’s table-topping side so far this season, with WhoScored ranking him as the second-best player in the squad, Aboukhlal would surely be an exciting addition to Hasenhuttl’s side.

Therefore, director of football Matt Crocker should definitely look to bring the Moroccan to St Mary’s in January.