Southampton fans, look away now. From reports in France, via L’Equipe, Liverpool will be making their annual trip to the South Coast to buy a highly performing Saints player. This time, the player being linked with an exit from the club is Gabon midfielder Mario Lemina. With the likely exit of Emre Can from the Reds, Liverpool want to find a new midfield player who can add steel and grit to their side.
While Naby Keita will arrive from Leipzig this summer, he’s not a Can replacement. Liverpool need someone with extra brawn in the team again, and with the impressive Lemina weighing in with high quality tackling as well as impressive forward stats, he could be a viable alternative should Can, as expected, make his way out of Liverpool on a free.
With close to £200m spent on Southampton players in the last few years, a move for the clubs’ record signing in Lemina could be a significant challenge. At 24, the ex-Juventus and Marseille man is seen as a good option for the Reds should Southampton be willing to listen to offers for one of their most impressive performers.
It all comes down to how Lemina sees things. A poor season – which could yet end with relegation with a run of bad results – could see him demand an exit from a club that, broadly, was seen as a stepping stone for someone having already played for Juventus. Time will tell, but it sounds like Liverpool might be stopping off at St. Mary’s to once again test their resolve for a player.