Lille finished last season in 5th position, a reasonable place for the club and in no small way thanks to Sofiane Boufal. One of Lille’s best players during the last campaign, it had been rumoured he’d leave during the last winter window.
Boufal was keen to stay and finish the season with Lille, and continued to impress until his knee issue grew into a problem. Southampton snapped up Boufal and whilst it’s been a difficult settling in period, due to the player’s injury and subsequent operation, the Moroccan has already shown enough to suggest he’s a brilliant signing.
Southampton faced competition for Boufal, with the 23 year old keen to pick the right club for his development, and lucky to have an agent concerned with that too. The presence of Claude Puel will have been an advantage for Southampton, and everyone won. Lille got their money, Southampton got their man, and Boufal got a club great at developing players.
But what of Lille now? They’re currently 11th in Ligue 1, and only 6 teams have scored fewer goals.
It’s quite simple, Lille’s outgoings are more than their incomings before transfers, and they’ve subsequently picked up a debt.
With non transfer income coming down, rather than going up, the club’s financial situation isn’t great. What they do have on their side, explains French newspaper L’Equipe on Wednesday, is assets.
Lille own their own training ground, have commercial possibilities thanks to their stadium… and have players they can sell. It may well be worth Puel and Southampton having another look.