Puel looks to Nice magician to solve Southampton’s goal woes

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A lack of goals has been the only thing preventing Southampton from an assault on the top six again this season, but boss Claude Puel could have found the solution in the form of Nice midfielder Wylan Cyprien.

The 21-year-old only joined Les Aiglons from Lens in the summer, but has sparkled in the south of France, with Nice currently surprise leaders in Ligue 1 – four points clear of Monaco, and seven above Paris Saint-Germain.

Creative, intelligent and possessing a ferocious strike, the youngster has already netted six times for his club side this season, as well as setting up goals for prolific forward pair Mario Balotelli and Alassane Plea.

There’s also no doubting he’s a man for the big occasion, having netted a vital late winner against Marseille and the opener away at PSG in recent weeks.

That’s unsurprisingly attracted interest from a Saints side who have scored just 17 goals in as many Premier League games – comfortably the fewest of any team in the top half of the table.

While Cyprien’s quality means Nice will be reticent to sell such an integral member of their squad, Puel’s four-year tenure as manager of Les Aiglons gives him a better chance than his competitors of snapping the France under-21 international up in January.

Next up for Southampton is the visit of Tottenham next Wednesday night, with the Saints priced at 15/8 to enjoy a second successive victory over Spurs.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.