Southampton looked to have pulled off a typically shrewd bit of business when they paid Malaga £5 million to sign a promising 22-year-old striker by the name of Juanmi two summers ago, as reported by Sky Sports.
An arch goal poacher, the youngster’s reputation was on the rise in Spain after scoring eight goals in an impressive breakthrough season in 2014/15. A winner away to Barcelona at the Camp Nou helped, of course.
And a senior Spain debut against The Netherlands in March was just rewards for his progress, while seemingly confirming that Southampton had landed one of Europe’s most promising goalscorers.
However, it’s fair to say Juanmi’s promising career stalled at St Mary’s. In one year on the South Coast, the striker was not trusted to start a single Premier League game, his 162 minutes of action coming via substitute cameos.
Sold at a £2m loss
And, after a single goalless season, Southampton sold Juanmi back to Spain at a £3 million loss, as reported by the Daily Mail. Though, after an impressive year-and-a-bit at Real Sociedad, it is not wholly inconceivable that Juanmi will find his way back into the international fold in the near future.
A return of 11 goals in 19 La Liga starts last season was promising but the now-24-year-old has started the new campaign like a man possessed. He has three goals in two starts already, including a superb angled volley in the 4-2 weekend win away at Deportivo La Coruna.
And while Southampton fans may argue that Juanmi was never cut out for the Premier League, the fact that they have failed to score in four of their five fixtures under Mauricio Pellegrino is enough to suggest that the instinctive Spaniard could have come in handy.