Southampton winger Sofiane Boufal is happy to have been given another chance to impress in the Premier League under Ralph Hasenhuttl. The Morocco international arrived at St Mary’s from Lille in 2016 in a reported £16million deal, at the time a club-record, with a big reputation.
Boufal spent last season on loan in La Liga with Celta Vigo after falling out of favour with former boss Mark Hughes, who was replaced by Austrian Hasenhuttl in December.
There was speculation the forward could depart in the summer as Celta were understood to be keen to pursue a permanent deal, albeit for a knockdown fee, and there was interest from France’s Ligue 1.
Boufal opted to stick with Saints as he was eager to prove himself in the Premier League, and he is delighted he has been given an opportunity by Hasenhuttl.
He told Canal Plus: “I’m not someone who’s going to leave and choose the easy way out. That easy way out was a return to France in a club that absolutely wanted me. I wanted to fight here and prove to people I can make it in the Premier League.” “The manager [Hasenhuttl] didn’t know me, so I had everything to prove,” he added.
“I really listened to his advice and orders. I think I’ve now integrated his team because I’ve also learned his philosophy.”
Boufal has featured in all but one of Southampton’s eight Premier League games so far this season, with four starts and three further outings from the bench.
The 26-year-old is not involved in any international fixtures over the break and will be keen to impress in training with Saints in order to secure a starting spot when they travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the next round of fixtures.
Boufal featured as a late substitute, replacing Nathan Redmond with nine minutes remaining, as Southampton went down 4-1 to Chelsea at home on Sunday. The former Angers attacker has managed 64 appearances in total for Southampton and four goals, with Boufal yet to open his account this season.
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