Southampton are in talks regarding a deal which would see Mario Lemina leave St Mary’s this summer.
That’s according to a report by French media outlet Le10 Sport (via Sport Witness), who claimed that, following a €4m (£3.5m) offer from Nice being rejected by Southampton, talks are ongoing between the two clubs regarding the midfielder’s potential sale in the summer transfer window.
The report added that, while there is still ground to be made up between the two clubs’ respective valuations of the 27-year-old, talks this weekend could see a breakthrough which may all but secure his switch to the south of France ahead of next season.
Having cost Southampton €20m (£18.1m) to sign from Serie A outfit Juventus four years ago, it is an easy argument to make that Lemina has not proven fantastic value for money for the south coast club.
Indeed, having featured just 52 times for Saints during his time at the club, as well as being sent out on loan for the last two seasons, it is evident that the £64,000-per-week midfielder is not a key part of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plans at Saint Mary’s.
The Gabon international has not exactly flopped when given the opportunity in a Southampton shirt, earning an impressive seasonal SofaScore match rating of 6.98 and 6.89 in his first two seasons at the club respectively. However, if the 53-year-old Saints manager has no intention of playing the £9m-rated midfielder, it would indeed seem wise to move him on while he is still under contract with the club.
Furthermore, should Nice pay a fee for the man Garth Crooks dubbed a “powerhouse“, this money – plus whatever is saved on Lemina’s considerable wages – could easily be put towards improving Southampton’s squad ahead of next season. That possibility would surely have fans of the club buzzing.