Southampton have pipped Watford to the signing of Sofian Boufal, with the player believing St Mary’s was the best place to continue his development.
Watford held advanced talks over two days with Boufal and his agent, Yvan Le Mee, last week and left the negotiations confident they had thrashed out a deal for the player. However, Southampton trumped Watford’s bid and are believed to have improved the terms on a five-year deal and won the race to sign the 22-year-old. The chance to work with Claude Puel, the former Lille coach, was also a big factor in the decision to head to the south coast.
“Southampton showed big interest in signing me, and I can see that this club is the best place for me to continue my progression as a footballer,” said Boufal in an interview with the club website. “I hope I can achieve many great things with Southampton. It is a very good club, with excellent facilities, and I feel it is the perfect environment to continue my development.”
Southampton are reported to have paid Lille £16m for Boufal, a sum Watford were not prepared to stretch to given they will pay Juventus up to £13m for the more proven Roberto Pereyra.
Meanwhile, Calum Chambers, who was a target at the start of the summer, has joined Middlesbrough on a season-long loan.