Southampton in far better position to land Everton target

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Southampton to win the Europa League

With the portcullis slamming down on Everton’s pursuit of Lyon forward Rachid Ghezzal, Southampton are intent on profiting from the failed pursuit.

Ronald Koeman’s new employers reportedly offered Ghezzal a bumper package to join up after agreeing a fee with the Ligue 1 side, only to see their advances snubbed by the player himself.

According to Lyon’s president, it’s since come to light that the 24-year-old Algerian turned down the Toffees’ lucrative offer, purely because they could not offer him any European football this season.

This is where the Saints can come marching in, for want of a better phrase. Claude Puel’s new side have moved into pole position due to their definite inclusion in the group stages of the 2016/17 Europa League, with the draw only weeks away.

Although Koeman opted to jump the St Mary’s ship to join what he regarded as ostensibly the bigger club, this is an example of how the Dutchman’s arms are now tied over certain targets as Goodison Park boss.

Puel has experienced a slightly rocky start to his Premier League managerial life, garnering just a point from games against Watford and Manchester United and the Frenchman recognises the need to strengthen for a busy campaign ahead.

With key attacking figures of last season, Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane vacated the south-coast club, the need for offensive reinforcement is plain and Ghezzal’s capture would be welcome.

The Algerian international who’s scored five times in just six caps, also netted 10 times in all competitions for Lyon last season and is well-known to former Lyon boss Puel.

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