Sofiane Boufal signs for Southampton - Twitter Reacts
Southampton announced the signing of Sofiane Boufal from Lille on Monday morning. The fee is £16 million, which is a club record deal, surpassing the amount paid for Dani Osvaldo in 2013. The Moroccan international has agreed to a five-year deal at Southampton. He arrives with a growing reputation in the game and he could turn out to be one of the best signings made by a Premier League club this summer.
He is an attacking midfielder, capable of playing on either flank, but he performs best as a number ten. Boufal is an exciting player, who gets fans out of their seats with his dynamism and directness. He is capable of effortlessly beating players, as he combines tight ball control with nimble footwork when running at opposition players. The 22-year-old is a nightmare to defend against as he can shoot from range or play delicious through balls to cut defences open.
A move to England is a good career move for him and he will see it as an opportunity to get a transfer to an elite club two or three years down the line. He will need time to adjust to a new league, as it will be his first move outside of France. The increased physicality of the Premier League will be new to Boufal, therefore patience will be required.
The Southampton manager Claude Puel knows Boufal well from his time as Nice manager and he has had a big influence on the move. He has seen the attacker up close on a number of occasions and playing under a manager that knows his game will help Boufal settle quicker. Moreover, the language problem will be reduced as Puel can speak to Boufal in French.
It will be interesting to see where he plays at Southampton as Puel has been playing a 4-3-1-2 formation, with Nathan Redmond playing as a striker. Boufal could be used in a similar role and the option to play wingers is now available for Puel. Dusan Tadic is the key man at Southampton and he plays in the number ten role. However, the new signing from Lille will provide increased competition for Tadic as well, which could lead to improved performances from him.
After confirming the signing, Southampton executive director of football said this on Boufal:
“We are extremely confident he will successfully adapt to life in the Premier League.”
“Sofiane is a player we have watched develop closely over the last few years, and we’re thrilled to have him join the club. We’re delighted that Sofiane sees Southampton as the best place for him to continue his development.”
Here is how Twitter reacted to Southampton signing Boufal:
Southampton fans are excited by the club record signing:
— Hassan O. J. Morad (@HassanOJMorad) August 29, 2016
Boufal says progression a lot in his interviews, I highly doubt he'll be here for the 5 years he signed for, still what a player! #saintsfc
— Hasenhüttl 🐐 (@RahilMajid) August 29, 2016
— Sam Smith (@SamSmith68) August 29, 2016
— Brandon Butt (@25buttsfc1) August 29, 2016
That spine of Forster, Van Dijk, Højbjerg and Boufal is 😍😍😍😍 #saintsfc
— 🐧 (@robbinho_3) August 29, 2016
Some Saints fans hoped that the signing would mean a change in system:
Boufal looks a talent,hopefully a change in formation,Thinking 4-2-3-1 with Boufal,Tadic,Redmond behind either Jay,Long or Austin #saintsfc
— Luke Fletcher (@Superfletch81) August 29, 2016
If we keep this diamond formation how will we accommodate Tadic and Boufal in the same team? #saintsfc
— Tom Stevenson (@Trs1981) August 27, 2016
Fans of other clubs noted that they thought it was a good signing for Southampton:
Boufal is a great signing for Southampton – So much potential!
— Amadness (@VinceVega7) August 29, 2016
Sofiane Boufal is a baller, what a player he will be in the PL, great signing for Southampton, potential to be better than Payet IMO ⚽🔴
— Mike Buckley (@MichaelBuckle17) August 25, 2016
There are some concerns about his attitude:
There will still be question marks over Boufal 's attitude, but he has all the talent to be the Payet of this season
— SHARKY (@Belgian_Hotspur) August 29, 2016
— Robin Bairner (@RBairner) August 29, 2016
One former player had this to say:
Payet/Mahrez tricks and skills. Not convinced he's physically strong enough yet for Prem. Goes down easily. Plenty of potential.
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) August 29, 2016
Finally, there have been a lot of jokes about his future move to Liverpool:
Sofiane Boufal now only 2 seasons away from joining Liverpool for £45m
— Richard Holmes (@richolmestwit) August 29, 2016
Featured image: All rights reserved by Maxime Delobel