No one has ever truly doubted Sofiane Boufal’s ability. Rather, it was the temperament, consistency and efficiency of the maverick winger that had Southampton supporters wondering when, or whether, they would ever see a return on their club-record £21 million investment, per Sky Sports.
Boufal became The Saints record signing when he arrived from Lille in the summer of 2016 but that dazzling solo goal against West Brom at the weekend was an all-too rare occasion that Moroccan international has looked worthy of every penny.
The 24-year-old has only started 13 Premier League games in over a year and that wondergoal to down The Baggies at St Mary’s on Saturday, racing from inside his own half, beating three players before slotting a sublime finish into the far corner, was only his second Premier League strike.
But if there was ever an indication why Tottenham Hotspur wanted Boufal in North London, this was it. The winger’s agent, Yvan Le Mee admitted last year in quotes reported by The Sun that Spurs were among the frontrunners for Boufal before he joined Southampton.
And, for the most part, Spurs look to have pulled off a rather fortunate mistake. Yet, with manager Mauricio Pochettino seemingly on the lookout for a new winger in January, Boufal may pique their interest again if he proves that his West Brom stunner is not another false dawn.
Boufal, however, is one of the most naturally talented yet eternally frustrating players in European football. But could Pochettino’s discipline, coaching and belief ensure that these moments of magic happen a little more frequently?