Returning from his Celta Vigo loan this summer, Sofiane Boufal lived a summer filled with transfer rumours, with reports in France claiming a number of Ligue 1 teams were after him.
After all, it made some sense as it was the league he first made a name for himself in, and if he were to relaunch his career, a return there would allow for the easiest integration in a team like Marseille or Nice who like to play on the front foot.
However, nothing came of it, and the player stayed at Southampton, where he is trying to earn himself a regular spot in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s first-team, and has started four out of the last five games under the Austrian.
Speaking to Canal Plus, Boufal gave his version of how the summer went and why he ended up remaining at St Mary’s.
He said: “I’m a fighter. 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. I’m ambitious.
“The manager [Hasenhüttl] didn’t know me, so I had everything to prove. I really listened to his advice and orders. I think I’ve now integrated his team because I’ve also learned his philosophy. I have confidence, and what’s most important for a player is to keep that confidence. We know that in football, things can change really quickly, and what’s most important is to have a good season”.
To show just how much his mentality has changed, the player explained that while before he would be thinking about ‘how many goals to score before the winter break’, his focus is now solely on ‘the next game’ and to ‘do his day to day work and be serious at training, do extra work on his strong and weak points’.
He just wants to ‘give himself the means to make it’, because then if he doesn’t, he ‘won’t have any regrets’ because he’ll have given it his all.