Southampton have been relatively quiet during the summer transfer window, with only one first-team addition, but they could be ready to make a statement ahead of the Premier League season.
Sky Sports report that the club have agreed a deal with Juventus for midfielder Mario Lemina. The fee is believed to be an initial £16 million that could rise to £20 million if certain clauses are met. The Serie A club have confirmed that he will be leaving Turin and it is looking like his new club will be the Saints.
Lemina is expected to undergo a medical on Monday and become Mauricio Pellegrino’s second signing as Southampton manager. There had been other interest in the midfielder, with Stoke City holding talks with Juventus on Friday, according to the same source, but he has opted for a move to St Mary’s Stadium.
The Gabon international has struggled to get regular game time in Turin and that will be the main motivation behind the move.
What will he bring to Southampton?
The midfielder has been regarded as a huge talent since joining Juventus and he has shown flashes of his ability in Serie A, despite getting fewer first-team opportunities than he would have liked.
He has a good physical presence, as he uses his body well when he has possession and possesses pace to burst past an opposition player. The 23-year-old will suggest his best position is as a box-to-box midfielder, as he can contribute in both halves of the pitch. That said, he is versatile and capable of playing in a number of different roles and positions.
He isn’t afraid to get stuck in and has an aggressive side to his personality that he harnesses well when the other team have the ball. At times this can get the better of him and lead to poor discipline on the pitch. Lemina isn’t the finished article and that is why Southampton are able to sign him. However, under the right manager, he could develop into one of the better midfielders in the Premier League.
Will he be a good signing?
This one is looking very likely as it is being reported by Sky Sports, the more reliable news source in the UK. They rarely report transfers unless they are at an advanced stage and the line about the impending medical suggests this is almost complete.
Southampton have been quiet in the window, but it was important that they added quality and not quantity to push on under their new manager. They already have one of the better squads outside of the top-six and Lemina would be a good option to add to that.
Southampton already have a good pool of central midfield options, but they don’t possess a player that has the athleticism of Lemina. He will add a different profile and could prove to be the perfect player in the transition phase, as he can provide powerful bursts forward with the ball.
This one has come out of the blue and it represents a coup for the South Coast club. Although the Gabon international isn’t the complete player yet, he has the tools to become an excellent midfielder. It is now up to Southampton to help him reach that level.