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Southampton: Zakaria Aboukhlal could be the next Le Tissier

Southampton are a side that have notoriously been lacking goals this season, with their return of just 13 goals in 15 games likely a big contributor in their current 19th-placed position.

It is renowned that since the departure of Danny Ings – who notched 46 times in 100 appearances for the Saints – they have lacked a true goal threat who could fire them to safety.

Should they not find one this January, it could finally see them relegated despite having spent over a decade in the division.

They have often flirted with demotion, but whether it be through their star players or experienced managers, they often survived.

However, with the removal of Ralph Hasenhuttl and the huge gamble placed upon Nathan Jones, there is an element of uncertainty surrounding the St Mary’s Stadium as the second half of this campaign nears.

The new boss could immediately endear himself to the fans with a big transfer, and in Zakaria Aboukhlal he might just have that.

Linked back in late October, it was said that the south coast outfit would battle with Leicester City for his services.

A versatile frontman, the Moroccan more than earned his place at the World Cup following an impressive three-goal and three-assist haul to begin this campaign.

He has since only furthered his pedigree, with a goal against Belgium sinking the second-best team in the world.

The movement displayed to find the space, and composure to stab the ball into the top right corner was at a level far beyond his years.

Would you sign Aboukhlal?





It highlighted his impressive work in such a short period, as in his 17-minute cameo he not only finished off the opposition but recorded one tackle, one interception and was successful in the one duel he competed in, via Sofascore.

At 22 years old, he boasts the maturity to dig in when his side needed him.

Despite his youth and fleet-footedness, journalist Hanif Berkane still dubbed him a “physical monster”. He therefore could draw similarities with a former favourite on the south coast Matt Le Tissier, who stood at 6 foot 1 and stocky in stature but was blessed with incredible technical ability.

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Who scored Southampton's first goal of 2021?

This was put to good use, as he would score 165 goals for the club.

Rated at just £8.7m by CIES Football Observatory, it could prove something of a coup should they get Aboukhlal for a similar fee, although this goal will likely have boosted this.

Regardless, it is clear there is a reason for their reported interest.

Boasting a fine physical presence married with a silkiness and eye for goal, he has all the attributes to emulate Le Tissier and fire Southampton to safety.