Transfer interest is growing in Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina this summer.
That’s according to a report by Calciomercato (via Sport Witness), who claimed that Watford’s owners, the Pozzo family, are very keen on securing a deal for the 27-year-old in the summer transfer window, having already seen an offer of a player swap rejected by Southampton.
The report added that Ralph Hasenhuttl would be willing to part with the Gabon international this summer, but it is unclear as to what sort of deal Saints would require to sanction the sale of the midfielder.
Having joined Southampton from Juventus in a €20m (£18.1m) deal back in 2017, it would seem fair to say that Lemina has not quite lived up to his price tag at St Mary’s. Indeed, the £9m-rated man has featured just 52 times in all competitions for Saints, scoring two goals and providing two assists along the way during his time at the club.
The defensive midfielder has twice been sent out on loan, firstly to Galatasaray in 2019/20 and then to Fulham last season, illustrating that the 27-year-old is not a key part of Hasenhuttl’s first team plans.
His performances when given the opportunity to feature for Saints have not been disastrous, earning a seasonal WhoScored match rating of 6.93 over his 25 Premier League appearances in his debut English campaign, as well as an average match rating of 6.85 over his 21 top-flight appearances in 2018/19. However, if Hasenhuttl doesn’t feel that the player Garth Crooks dubbed a “powerhouse” is a key part of his first team setup, Lemina’s whopping £64,000-per-week wages could easily be invested elsewhere at St Mary’s.
As such, it would appear highly advisable for the Austrian to do all he can to offload the Gabon midfielder this summer, with Watford currently seeming like his best hope of facilitating that.