Back in 2016, we covered an article regarding Southampton’s alleged interest in Nicolae Stanciu when the Romanian attacking midfielder was still at Steaua Bucharest.
The idea was for him to replace the departing Sadio Mané, but the Saints ended up going for Sofiane Boufal instead.
Stanciu, down his end, transferred to Anderlecht in Belgium for a fee of around €10m, but the move hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
Used more as a rotation option than a first-team regular, the 24-year-old is starting to get frustrated with his situation, and had a vent in an interview with DH.
He said: “It’s hard for me, and not just now, it happened last yea too. I haven’t said anything until now, but I’m not going to keep quiet anymore. Last year, I played in the Europa League, scored at times, but I didn’t play the next game.
“It’s the same this year. I scored against Beveren, and didn’t play the next game. I don’t understand. I can’t explain it. If I play one game and then am on the bench for the next five, how can I pick up form?”
Refusing to complain to the manager, Stanciu admits all he can do is keep on training in hope Hein Vanhaezebrouck ends up picking him on a more regular basis.
As for a move away from Anderlecht, it isn’t something the player is thinking about just yet, but that could quickly change.
He explained: “I don’t want to leave, but I don’t know what the board want to do with me. What is sure is that the situation can’t stay like this. I want to stay, but if things don’t improve, I’ll have to see what I can do because I need to play.
“The Romanian team will soon be announced for the next few games and I’m not even sure I’ll be in it considering my situation. I’m missing important things”.
While Stanciu might not want to go, it seems Anderlecht might not be fully against it, if they can make their money back.
A loan isn’t an option, but if someone were to come knocking with an €8m+ cheque, well, that’s a different story.
While such an amount is pocket change for a Premier League club like Southampton, will sides want to spend that much on a player who hasn’t played regularly for two years?
It would be a gamble to bring him to St Mary’s, and it all depends on how much the club still like him, if at all.
One thing is certain: we’re a long way off the €30m Stanciu’s agent predicted his client would move to the Premier League for in the summer of 2017.