Saturday was a big day for Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal, but it was also a big day for his agent, Yvan Le Mée.
The Moroccan winger, signed by the Saints over the summer for a record transfer fee, made his first full debut for his new club in the Premier League in the 0-0 draw against Liverpool, and earned the praise of his manager Claude Puel.
Slowly getting to grips with the new league, the new language and his new teammates, the 23-year-old showed glimpses of his talent going forward, as well as a will to defend when needed.
Following his agent, Yvan Le Mée, for 48 hours, which included a trip to St Mary’s Stadium, SFR Sport were able to learn a bit more about his transfer to the Premier League, and found out it all nearly came crashing down more than once.
Le Mée explained: “The board opted for Sofiane Boufal, notably to replace the departing Sadio Mané. As soon as we were told that Koeman wouldn’t be staying, we backtracked a little bit. Then, a few weeks later, Claude [Puel] was made manager, and we know his talent as a manager.
“The job he did with Hatem Ben Arfa was exceptional, so we had a strong interest in trusting him with Sofiane. We then spoke with Southampton, who showed a strong interest. Claude rang Sofiane because he wanted to speak to him, and the two had a good feeling about the whole thing.”
The agent then went on to reveal that despite Southampton breaking their transfer record to get his client, they could have ended up paying more had Lille got their own way.
The Ligue 1 club nearly made the transfer fall through with their ‘astronomical’ demands for the player, and Le Mée and his English associate nearly walked away without a deal.
Trying to balance their books with one transfer, you can hardly blame Lille, but, in the end, everyone seemingly got what they wanted, and that’s all that matters, right?