Reports have emerged via the Guardian that former Arsenal, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona transfer target Sofiane Boufal may be set for a move to Premier League side Southampton, with the club reportedly close to agreeing a deal with Lille to sign the 22 year old before the transfer window closes next week.
Last season, Boufal operated in a variety of positions behind the striker, and is highly competent and comfortable playing out wide or as an attacking option. Furthermore with new Southampton manager Claude Puel eager to boost his attacking options this summer, the 22 year old may be the ideal option, with his attacking flair and dynamic style of play a perfect fit to replace Sadio Mane who departed the South Coast club for Liverpool earlier this summer.
Boufal, who joined from Angers last January for just €4m, will likely leave French side Lille this summer, with the transfer fee expected to be around €25m (£19.6m), with Southampton reportedly happy to meet the asking price, following several negotiations and having made over £30million from the sale of Sadio Mane to Liverpool.
Boufal, a product of the youth system at Angers, played a key part in helping the club gain promotion back in the 2014/2015 season, and transferred to current club Lille in January 2015.
The Moroccan international has impressed greatly in his first full season at the club with Boufal scoring 12 times and providing four assists in all competitions, with Lille finishing 5th in Ligue 1 and guaranteeing Europa League football next season, a vast improvement from the season before.
Should the move come to fruition, it is expected to be a new club record transfer for the Saints, with the deal expected to eclipse the £12.8 million spent on Italian forward Daniel Osvaldo in 2013.