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Friday, March 31, 2023

Southampton: Sulmena is Terrier 2.0

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Southampton will be hopeful of securing another attacking option before tomorrow night’s transfer deadline as Nathan Jones looks to add more firepower to his goal-shy squad, the joint-third lowest scorers in the Premier League.

The 49-year-old has signed Carlos Alcaraz, Mislav Orsic and James Bree already this month, but another arrival might well follow those three through the door, and it could give the Saints a massive boost in their bid to remain in the top flight.

Indeed, the south coast club have made an official bid of €20m (£17.5m) for Rennes winger Kamaldeen Sulemana, which is an improvement on their first offer of £13.1m which also included £1.7m in add-ons.

The youngster is also being tracked by Everton, and this could set up a potential battle between the two Premier League clubs over who lands the coveted winger before the transfer deadline.

Erik ten Hag lavished the player with praise when he was making waves at FC Nordsjaelland, saying: “More and more players nowadays want the ball [played] at their feet instead of making runs. He can make those runs and he has incredible speed.”

In just 43 appearances for the Danish club, the Ghanaian scored 14 times. That duly secured him a move to Rennes, for whom he has netted six goals while attracting interest from the Premier League due to his performances.

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The 20-year-old is statistically similar to fellow Rennes forward Martin Terrier, who has been linked with a move to England in recent months, and Sulemana could be a wonderful prospective addition to the Southampton squad.

According to FBref, Terrier is the second-most comparable player to his team-mate across Europe’s top five leagues, and it isn’t a bad comparison to have.

The two players have registered similar statistics this season in terms of shots per game (3.59 to 3.21), shot-creating actions per match (3.82 to 3.60), dribble success rate (46.9% to 34.6%), and crosses (ten to 13), which illustrates that both are excellent attacking threats from the left wing.

Sulemana is also fast becoming one of the finest players in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, with FBref ranking him in the top 15% for total shots, assists, dribbles completed, tackles and interceptions. These numbers suggests that, at the tender age of 20, he has an all-round game which could see him slot into the Southampton first-team with ease.

However, Jones will need to act swiftly, especially given Everton’s reported interest, and the next 24 hours could be very interesting indeed in the Saints’ pursuit of Sulemana.

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