Southampton are reportedly interested in signing Hatayspor forward Aaron Boupendza this summer and, if he makes the move to the south coast club, he could prove to be their next Sadio Mane.
According to a report from 90min, a host of Premier League clubs including Southampton, Spurs, Leicester City, West Ham, Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Wolves are interested in signing the 24-year-old this summer, whilst Rangers and Celtic are also said to be keen.
The report suggests that Boupendza’s priority is to move to the Premier League and that the Turkish club would be willing to sell if anyone meets their asking price of £8.5m.
The Gabon international is a relatively new arrival at Hatayspor, having joined on a free transfer from Bordeaux last summer, but it appears as if he could be on the move again this year after an impressive debut campaign in Turkey.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have been extremely reliant on the goals of Danny Ings and Che Adams for the past two seasons, and although James Ward-Prowse steps up with the occasional goal from midfield, the goal contributions from the wingers are far from good enough.
The two main culprits here are arguably Nathan Redmond and Moussa Djenepo, with the two left-wingers having scored just two Premier League goals between them this season.
A prolific winger is something Southampton have arguably lacked since Mane was sold to Liverpool in 2016, with the Senegalese forward having contributed 25 goals and 14 assists in 75 appearances during his time at St Mary’s.
There are a lot of similarities between the transfer which saw Southampton sign Mane and the potential deal for Boupendza, as the Liverpool man moved to RB Salzburg after a disappointing spell in France before completing a £20m move to the Saints after impressing in a fairly obscure footballing league.
Like Mane, Boupendza likes to cut in from the left, with WhoScored suggesting that his dribbling and finishing are two of his main strengths, so again it is easy to see the likeness to Mane.
Therefore, CEO Martin Semmens should definitely push for Southampton to sign the Gabon international this summer, as it could prove to be a masterstroke if they end up with a player similar to Mane on their books.