Garth Crooks is mystified why Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina isn’t playing for Arsenal or Liverpool.
The BBC pundit was impressed by Lemina’s performance for Southampton in their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace and selected him in his team of the week. In typical Crooks style, though, he couldn’t just praise the player. He had to criticise someone or something as well.
This time, he claimed that Lemina is a top-four player and should be playing for Arsenal and Liverpool, not Southampton. “My goodness, this lad looks a powerhouse,” Crooks wrote in his article for the BBC.
“I suppose when you’ve played for one of the biggest clubs in the world in Juventus, you should have all the tools to survive in any league. However, what I witnessed in Southampton’s Mario Lemina was a player who seemed to stifle Crystal Palace’s every move.
“The former Juve man was composed on the ball and timely in the tackle – and for a holding midfielder, he was very capable of hurting the opposition. Lemina is a top-four player in my opinion and fair play to Southampton for making the purchase. Why he is not playing for Liverpool or Arsenal is a mystery to me.”
Lemina joined Southampton in the summer from Juventus for £18m. He was linked with Arsenal before then, but evidently a move never happened. The performances of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey against Chelsea may have revealed why Arsenal didn’t sign a new midfielder.
The pair did an excellent job protecting the backline and controlling the midfield. When you consider that Lemina wanted more first-team football, it shouldn’t be a mystery to anyone why he would be playing for Southampton and not Arsenal or Liverpool, in my opinion.
He played 42 games in two seasons for Juventus. That record wouldn’t improve by joining a team that has a lot of depth of midfield, I feel.