Southampton paid a record £18m to bring Mario Lemina to St Mary’s but then Ralph Hasenhuttl sent him away from the Premier League and to Galatasaray.
Mario Lemina has dropped the biggest hint yet that his Southampton career may be over, making it clear to Hurriyet that a permanent move to Galatasaray would be welcomed by the Gabonese enforcer.
It feels like a long time ago now that the Saints broke their transfer record to sign an international midfielder who had only just featured for Juventus in the Champions League final a matter of weeks earlier.
Lemina was one of the few bright sparks during the torturous reign of Mauricio Pellegrino but, after falling out of favour under the high-octane tactics of Ralph Hasenhuttl, a move away from St Mary’s felt like only a matter of time.
And so it transpired, with a short-term switch to Istanbul being agreed in the summer of 2019.
The one-time Marseille star has been a man reborn at Galatasaray and, when asked whether he would he happy to sever ties with Southampton at last in the off-season, Lemina didn’t hold back.
“Playing for Galatasaray makes me very happy. Every day, I receive good messages from the fans. I love them. I’m enjoying playing for them,” he says.
“Do I want to stay? There’s no need to ask that question, everything is clear from my end. I want to be remembered as one of Galatasaray’s greatest players.
“Of course, I joined the club on a loan deal, but I hope it won’t continue like this.”
Fotospor reported last week that Southampton had dropped Lemina’s price-tag to £9 million as they look to avoid pricing Galatasaray out of a full-time deal for a man who has just two years left on his contract at St Mary’s.
That this came immediately after Hasenhuttl admitted the Saints may be forced to accept cut-price fees for their out-of-favour players is surely no coincidence (Echo).