Why Southampton Should Fight Tooth And Nail To Retain Sofiane Boufal
Sofiane Boufal may have tasted sweet success of late but his Southampton journey so far has been filled with a lot of trouble. He may have proven that he has the magic touch to unlock a game for the Saints, but the real challenge will be for Mauricio Pellegrino to utilise that ability to the best of his efforts.
Undoubtedly, the Moroccan has been inconsistent in the past, which cost him a regular place in the team. It is a vicious cycle if you think about, because a lack of games will only further hamper a player’s form. Having said that, Boufal does not lack talent and that is something that has been coming up to the fore a lot often these days.
His tricks and flicks are indeed delightful to watch but they often produced little impact. In fact, there was a time not too long ago when Boufal’s introductions from the bench were jeered by Saints’ fans. They had gotten too used to watching him falter but then came that magical moment against West Brom where Boufal made all the change.
We have seen players like him before – players filled with abundant talent who end up struggling with maintaining consistency. However, once they find their groove, they always live up to their billing and maybe Boufal has found his. A mercurial talent such as Boufal is likely to frustrate at times but then he also has the ability to produce spell-binding moments such as that goal against West Brom.
Players like Boufal are all the more necessary in a team like Southampton that struggle when it comes to scoring goals. While some may argue that he could be content by just playing as a super-sub, the fact is that Boufal is likely to want a lot more for himself. To some extent, that was evident in the way he passionately burst into a celebration as soon as he scored the goal.
Boufal needs to work towards harnessing that same kind of passion towards the areas he truly needs to work on – his work-rate, positional awareness and providing defensive support.
Right now, Pellegrino is aware of the fact that he needs goals in the team, and Boufal has shown he can produce something out of nothing. However, the manager will also have to consider Boufal’s tendency to sometimes drift through a match without producing results.
It is quite evident that Southampton are still struggling to find the right balance between defence and attack. It remains to be seen if Boufal is the answer to that, but it is another worry for another day. At present, Pellegrino needs goals and Boufal can certainly deliver on that front. Thus, it becomes necessary for the manager and the club to ensure that they retain Boufal and work towards integrating him into the squad better.