Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has finally found his dream replacement for Armando Broja in the form of striker Sekou Mara from Girondins de Bordeaux.
Saints confirmed on Thursday that they have reached an agreement to sign Mara from French side Bordeaux subject to international clearance. He is set to become their sixth summer signing and finally adds much-needed quality to their forward line.
According to The Atheltic, the fee agreed is €13m (£11m) with Mara becoming an integral part of their squad, filling the void left by Shane Long and Armando Broja, who departed the club at the end of the season.
Long left St Mary’s Stadium on a free transfer joining Reading, and Broja returned to Chelsea following a successful loan spell.
Can Mara replace Broja for Saints?
Mara represents manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s dream replacement for Broja, being a young talented centre-forward who can hopefully replicate the goal tally reached by the Albanian last season.
At least 6 feet tall he brings a physical presence that is perhaps lacking from their current options of Adam Armstrong and Che Adams, and at just 19 years old he had years ahead of him to only get better.
Last season in Ligue 1 Mara made 26 appearances and scored six goals in a Bordeaux side that finished bottom of the table. He seems far too good to be playing in France’s second division so a move to Southampton is a step in the right direction.
Journalist Josh Bunting also thinks the same and recently described Mara as a “very exciting young talent“.
He will get great exposure in the Premier League and replicating his form will ensure the Saints aren’t in a battle for relegation themselves.
If you compare him to Broja, the man he will be replacing, they produce identical statistics in many areas. Not 0nly did they score the same number of goals but Mara has a pass accuracy percentage of 68% which compares to Broja’s 61%.
The Frenchman also made 1.5 shots per game in comparison to the Albanian’s 1.4.
Supporters will be able to breathe a sigh of relief now that the club have finally signed a striker. It is still set to be a difficult season but they are in a much better position now that Mara is part of the squad.
AND in other news, Hasenhuttl could make big “improvement” in £21m Saints swoop for “Ibrahimovic-machine”…