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THE SIX O'CLOCK MUSE: February 25th

This week concerns a certain Senegalese forward... and whether he is still the jewel in the St Mary's crown.

After a decent return of ten league goals in his debut campaign, Sadio Mané hasn't perhaps the heights that Saints fans may have expected this season; even if the press speculation surrounding the forward is constant. As the last time he scored was in October in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool, we asked our writers:

"Is Sadio Mané still an important player for Southampton despite his recent goal drought?"

Paul Johnson

Sadio Mane is still a very important player. He is probably still our most valuable attacking outlet.

Opposition players know he is a threat and will constantly be worried about him. You need that kind of threat spread across your frontline to occupy the opponents defence.

Besides, he will start scoring again, he'll keep creating chances too, and he works hard.

Tommy Scott

I believe he is. Whether he has scored or not, he does still cause problems for the opposition throughout the game and can create big chances as well. He just needs to find his finishing touch again and I think he'll be good, and sometimes all that takes is one goal! Contrary to many fans' beliefs, he is also one of our hardest workers.


Now, I do think he is certainly replaceable if he were to leave in the summer. In the same way I feel about Wanyama, if we get a good enough price for him, we should accept.

Dan Noutch

I believe he is a very important player. He is the Saints player that opponents fear the most and can create problems against anyone. On his day, he can do things that no other player in a Saints shirt can. Obviously he's experiencing a poor run of form at the moment but it's only a matter of time before he's back to the form that makes him so unplayable.

He's scored against Chelsea twice in the last three matches and his pace caused them so many issues. He could be crucial if we're going to get anything from this very tough game.

David Williams

John Terry selected him in his Premier league Team of the Year last season for a reason. Like Long he is a menace, capable of soiling an opposition defenders pants. But like Long he has a very questionable first touch, and his finishing isn't much better. He is a bundle of potential energy, ready to burst all over a game but in recent months he hasn't connected well with team mates and tends to run down blind alleys.

I still rate him, he's massively important going forward. There are a lot of games where our attack is languid and predictable, he offers the threat of pace and he is definitely unpredictable. Our recent unbeaten run has been achieved inspite of our attacking players. If Austin can get match ready and fit in with the group then the final 12 games will be very interesting.

Connor Armstrong

Absolutely. Sadio is still our most dynamic attacking option. He's terrorised Chelsea in the past and he should be in the starting line-up for this weekend's match. He's been out of form lately, but if he was as quick as he is and had a better finish in front of goal, he wouldn't be wearing a Saints shirt. Enjoy him while he's here, he'll be back to form soon. I've no doubt about that.

Jake Hughes

Definitely! He's still a class act for Southampton; although I do feel he's been searching for the ball more and is coming in deep due to poor service for him to run onto. He's given Chelsea a torrid time on a couple of occasions already so it will be interesting to see how he fares on Saturday. Here's hoping for a repeat of the performance at Stamford Bridge!

George Galpin

100 per cent. Put it this way; against Swansea without him on the pitch we struggled to create chances, despite winnig the game. He adds genuine pace which is something the squad does lack, and on form he is worth £30m comfortably.

He's going through a rough patch, granted, but his inconsistency is something that you should expect from someone his age and his position, and will be ironed out with experience. There's no doubt in my mind that he has the ability to become genuinely world-class, or at least very close to that standard.