Sofiane Boufal: 5 interesting facts about the new Southampton signing
Some interesting facts about the latest sensation of world football. Dubbed the 'New Eden Hazard' - Lille's Sofiane Boufal.
The transfer window many not have begun officially, but that hasn’t discouraged the clubs from moving to secure the hottest properties in world football under the sniffing noses of other potential suitors.
The Ligue 1, in recent years, has become a popular scouting spot for English Premier League clubs. From Eden Hazard to Dmitri Payet to Riyad Mahrez, Premier League’s recent success stories have honed their trade in the French first-tier.
One name that has been constantly linked with a move ashore over the past two transfer windows is Lille’s Moroccan attacking midfielder Sofian Boufal. Versatile, excellent dribbling skills and an eye for goal, Boufal possesses immense potential and can be deployed anywhere across the advanced midfield. Pacy wing play, tricky feet at his disposal and even a common club connection – Lille, comparisons with Chelsea star Eden Hazard were always coming. According to reports, he is on the radar of both the Blues, as well as Arsenal.
Just like any other import from the French Ligue 1, Boufal is a relatively unknown commodity to the football’s common masses. So what is it about him that has attracted the scouts from various top clubs across Europe? Here are few facts that need to be known about this rather exciting prospect:
#1 An Angers Youth Academy Product
Boufal joined Angers Sporting Club de l'Ouest as a mere 16-year-old, a club based in the city of Angers in the southwest of Paris. He went through their youth system from the U19 level to the B team before making his first senior team appearance as a late substitute in a 0-1 defeat at home to FC Istres during the 2012-13 season.
A first ever start followed soon after against the same opposition on the opening day of the next season, with Boufal grabbing eyeballs with a dominating display away from home, notching up two assists as Angers ran out winners 4-2.
Despite making a €4 million mid-season switch to Lille, starting in his natural right-wing position during the 2014-15 season, 4 goals and 3 assists from Boufal in a total of 16 appearances played a pivotal role in Angers’ push for promotion to the Ligue 1 for the first time in 21 years!