The latest whisper to watch looks at the whispers surrounding Porto’s Moussa Marega. What do we know about the Malian international, and is there any chance that he could be lining up as part of of a new look Saints attack?
It’s believed that the club want the highly rated player to rediscover his form on loan, and Southampton are said to be interested according to reports from France which claim that a number of teams are vying for his signature.
A move to France could be on the cards for the winger, who featured for Amiens SC before he made the move to Portugal. C.S. Maritimo signed the player after he impressed in Ligue 2, and he soon earned a move to one of the biggest clubs in the country.
His form was deadly at Maritimo, as he bagged 14 goals in 35 games to earn the move to Porto. He’s struggled to find his feet so far, and he hasn’t looked like the same player since making the step up.
It’s fair to say that many people won’t have seen the player in action before, so we’ve included a video showing some of his best moments at Porto.
As you can see, he’s sometimes struggled while playing for Porto, with a tendency to fall over during the wrong moments. Compare that to his form while at Maritimo, where he looked more assured on the ball, with much more of a goal threat:
He described his skillset in an interview with Porto when he first signed for the club:
“A team player, with speed as one of the main weapons, preferably on the right side, but I can play anywhere in the attack, and I like to score goals.”
They’ll want him to get back to that sort of form as soon as possible.
Porto finished a distant third in the Portuguese Liga last year, although that does mean that the team have qualified for the Champions League. Game time could be more important for the forward, especially considering his difficulties settling into the Porto side.
A loan move could help him to gain back confidence, while also serving to put him in the shop window if he exceeds expectations at a new club.
Marseille are reportedly interested in the player, which would make sense after the loss of Michy Batshuayi and Lucas Ocampos on a transfer and a loan respectively. It’s said that the French club would prefer to bring the player in on loan, though it wouldn’t solve their problems in the long term.
It could still be a good deal for both parties if he moves back to France, considering that he was born in the country and he understands the climate well.
Marseille have no European competition to speak of after finishing 13th in Ligue 1, while Southampton qualified for the Europa League after a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace in their last game of the season.
Portugal could also be in the running, with Vitoria SC and Sporting CP said to be keeping tabs on the forward. It could turn out to be a smart move if Porto decide they want to keep a close eye on his progress, and it would help them to keep him primed for a return.
For Southampton, it seems like there’s an outside chance that he could be lining up at St Mary’s. The loss of Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle means that they’re slightly short up front, despite signing Nathan Redmond from Norwich.
Brighton winger Solly March has also been linked with a move in the last few days, which shows that the club is still keen to add to their attacking options. (He was out for most of last season after a knee injury, but Brighton are still trying to get him to sign a new contract.)
All's quiet on that front so far, but the signing would fit in with their philosophy of signing young British talent.
The 1.4 rating (out of five) means that nothing is concrete at the moment when it comes to a deal for Marega to Southampton, but they would do with a player that can inject pace, energy and directness into their play.
The player only moved to Porto in January 2016, but it seems like they think he’ll get more game time at another club. Loan spells are reasonably low risk, and he hasn’t replicated his Maritimo form since arriving.
Which version of Marega will turn up? The one who scored for fun at Maritimo, or the one whose form caused people to start putting up sarcastic Youtube videos?
Loan deals can often work out well for both parties, and Marega looks to have the potential to be a game changer. A move to England could be a longshot, and Southampton need the personnel. Would he be worth the risk?