LOSC Lille manager Frédéric Antonetti has confirmed that forward Sofiane Boufal is leaving the Ligue Un club, amidst reports that the Moroccan international is joining Southampton.
According to several newspapers Boufal is joining the Saints for a fee in excess of £20m, with the Guardian claiming that Lille will be paid an initial £17m rising to £21m with bonuses.
And Antonetti told reporters at the club’s press conference that his star man will be leaving the club, explaining, “I know that there are negotiations for Sofiane Boufal. His departure is imminent.
“In summary, it is the only player of this type that I've had in my career; he is able to change games by himself.”
#Antonetti "Je sais qu'il y a des négociations pour Sofiane Boufal. En résumé, c'est le seul joueur de ce type que j'ai eu dans ma carrière"— LOSC (@losclive) August 25, 2016
#Antonetti "Boufal est capable de faire basculer des matchs à lui tout seul. Il le faisait une fois sur 3 avec moi. Son départ est imminent"— LOSC (@losclive) August 25, 2016
#Antonetti "Si nous allons recruter suite au départ de Boufal ? Il faut poser la question aux dirigeants."— LOSC (@losclive) August 25, 2016
The Moroccan joined Lille from Angers in January 2015 for a fee in the region of €4m, with the winger scoring eleven times in his first full season on his way to winning the award for the Best African Player in the league.
Saints boss Claude Puel refused to discuss the winger, but did admit that he was hoping to conclude some deals within the coming days.
Claude Puel not willing to talk specifically about Boufal but did say club hoping to sign one or two players in next few days #saintsfc— Adam Blackmore (@bigadamsport) August 25, 2016