Three Southampton Players to Watch Against Levante

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With the 2021/22 campaign fast approaching, clubs across England are gearing up as they prepare for the long season ahead. Thus far, the Southampton players in pre-season have impressed, leaving manager Ralph Hasenhuttl pleased.

At present, the Saints’ pre-season slate has gone mostly according to plan. Earning a 1-1 draw against Fulham to begin with, Southampton followed up with back-to-back victories over Welsh sides Cardiff City and Swansea City. Outscoring their opposition 8-2 thus far, Southampton now return to St. Mary’s Stadium to complete their pre-season preparations.

Now set to faceoff against La Liga side Levante in their penultimate match of the pre-season, it’s time for all involved to put up or shut up. With that in mind, here are three Southampton players to watch during the Saints friendly against Levante.

Three Southampton Players to Watch in Pre-Season Friendly Against Levante

Nathan Tella – Winger

A strong performer thus far for Southampton, Nathan Tella is a future star for the Saints. The question is, just how close are we to realising that future? Based on Tella’s performance against Swansea, that future could be here quite soon. Assisting on both of Che Adams’ goals against Cardiff, Tella put his name on the score sheet by netting the first of Saints’ three goals against the Swans.

Behind both Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong on the Saints winger depth chart, Tella is attempting to secure the primary backup role over the likes of Theo Walcott, Moussa Djenepo, Mohamed Elyounoussi, and Will Smallbone. A good performance against Levante will go a long way towards securing Tella a consistent spot in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s matchday squad.

Michael Obafemi – Forward

A bright prospect at one time for Southampton, Michael Obafemi’s star has faded as of late. The often injured Irish international has seen his Saints career go through several start-stop phases. However, that could now be about to change. Arriving back at Staplewood this summer in extremely good shape, Obafemi has turned several fine performances this preseason.

Possessing extreme levels of pace, the former youth sprinter has all the tools needed to be a top striker. That said, match time could be hard to come by for Obafemi this season. Sat behind Danny Ings and Che Adams, Obafemi will also have to compete against Theo Walcott and Shane Long for a spot in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s pecking order.

With the club also rumoured to be interested in Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong, Obafemi needs a great performance against Levante. Without one, Obafemi’s time at Southampton could soon be at an end.

Mohamed Elyounoussi – Winger

Much like the above mentioned Nathan Tella, Mohamed Elyounoussi is fighting for a consistent role in the Southampton first team. Unlike Nathan Tella though, Elyounoussi is already seen as a massive bust by many of the club’s supporters. This fact is due to a combination of factors. Included in that is the fact that Southampton paid £16 million for the Norwegian back in the summer of 2018.

The other major factor, Elyounoussi has made just 19 appearances and scored zero goals since signing with the Saints. In fact, Elyounoussi hasn’t even played for Southampton over the last two seasons. Instead, the Norwegian has starred for Celtic each of the last two campaigns. Because of this, Elyounoussi has earned himself a second chance to impress with Southampton.

Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, he has yet to make an impact this pre-season. With only two chances left, it is now or never for Elyounoussi against Levante. Impress and the Norwegian may yet find a role to play at St. Mary’s. Disappoint again and he could soon find himself leaving the South Coast again, this time on a permanent basis.

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