Southampton transfers: Was it a mistake to loan out Mario Lemina? The Verdict

  • Tom Kelly
Fulham midfielder Mario Lemina

Fulham are reportedly confident of keeping all of their loan players including Southampton’s Mario Lemina, The Sun reports.

For the 2020/21 season, the Cottagers have had to rely on multiple loan signings who have developed into key figures in Scott Parker’s side.

The likes of Ademola Lookman, Josh Maja, Alphonse Areola, Ola Aina and Lemina have all bolstered Fulham’s ranks on a temporary basis this season.

However, according to The Sun, the west London side are confident that they can convince all of their loanees to stay, providing the club doesn’t suffer relegation to the Championship.

One of Fulham’s stand-out loan signings has been Lemina, who joined the club on loan from fellow Premier League side Southampton.

Especially in recent weeks, where Fulham have pushed for Premier League survival, the African midfielder has featured more prominently and provided a Man of the Match performance against Liverpool, where he scored his side’s only goal in a 1-0 victory.

So, based upon his increasingly important role at Fulham, have Southampton made a mistake in loaning out Lemina?

GIVEMESPORT writers Tom Kelly, Sam Brookes, Jonathan Gorrie and Josh Cole have their say below...

Tom Kelly

"Personally, I would hazard a guess that neither Ralph Hasenhuttl nor many Southampton fans are glancing over at Craven Cottage with much jealously. 

Undoubtedly, Lemina has started to show greater signs of promise, especially after his recent performance against Liverpool where he earned a WhoScored rating of 8.37

However, to put this into perspective, Lemina hasn't otherwise achieved a rating that has been over seven since Fulham's 1-1 draw with Newcastle in December. The Gabon international is certainly starting to improve at Craven Cottage, but not enough warrant any regret on Southampton's part."

Sam Brookes

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing. There were likely few complaints from the club’s supporters when Lemina was loaned out to Fulham for the season.

"Six months down the line, it seems to have been a real error. The Gabon international has featured in 20 league games for the West London club this term, and has started to become a key player in the team’s recent run of good form. His goal against Liverpool last weekend was expertly taken.

"Meanwhile, Southampton have been terribly unfortunate with injuries in midfield. Oriol Romeu has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign, whilst youngsters Ibrahima Diallo and Will Smallbone have also spent time on the sidelines.

"If Lemina had been on hand, this may not have been much of a problem. Instead, he has been helping another side out, and the Saints have suffered, slipping down the table at an alarming rate in 2021."

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Jonathan Gorrie

"While it's easy to suggest Lemina's exit was a mistake now, it's not like he had done an awful lot on the South Coast.

"Granted, the injury crisis has left Saints short on options in the middle of the park but Lemina just didn't work out at St. Mary's. Cleared out by Ralph Hasenhuttl upon his arrival in Hampshire, he was a symbol of some of the ill-informed signings the club had started to make from the end of the Claude Puel era onwards. Frankly, he just didn't appear to fit the system under the Austrian, a system Saints have hugely benefited from even if things aren't going well right now.

"Clearly a good player given his history at Juventus and his current exploits, things just didn't work out for him at Southampton."

Josh Cole

"Southampton's decision to loan out Lemina to Fulham made sense last summer as the club's success in his absence during the previous campaign suggested that they didn't need him.

"However, since joining the Cottagers, the midfielder has produced several eye-catching displays in the Premier League for his new side who are currently fighting for survival with the likes of Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion.

"With Oriol Romeu now sidelined, Saints would certainly benefit currently from having Lemina as an option in their squad.

"If he continues to perform at this level between now and the end of the season, Southampton ought to give him another chance to prove himself in the heart of their midfield as he clearly has the ability to compete in the Premier League."

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