Boufal returns from AFCON with knee injury

Southampton playmaker Sofiane Boufal has been recalled to the club after suffering an injury while on international with Morocco.

The midfielder has returned from the African Cup of Nations to Staplewood to recover.

Recurring injury

Boufal is likely to be out of action for three weeks, after suffering an inflammation in his knee. The injury comes from same knee which kept him out of action earlier in the season, meaning the new man has only featured in 625 minutes of Premier League football since arriving in August.

The £16m signing from Lille missed the first couple of months of his Saints career with the injury and fans will be hoping that this setback does not mar his first season with the Saints.

Puel not overly concerned

Although he rarely seems flustered, Claude Puel once again seemed calm when talking about the injury yesterday.

The Frenchman claimed, “It is not an important injury, it is an inflammation of his knee, but he cannot play for his country," before stating, “I hope we can recover him.”

The 55-year-old continued to attempt to ease fan fears by saying, "It is not a bad injury and it is normal because after the operation sometimes the reaction of his knee."

Praising his player, Puel called Boufal "an important player for the squad", before adding that, "he can do the difference with the dribble and quality, and it’s important he comes back with a good fit.”

Southampton fortunate?

Despite losing Boufal for a few weeks, Southampton now have no players away at the AFCON, meaning any fresh injuries will at least come during Saints games.

As well as Boufal, Charlie Austin, Matt Targett and Alex McCarthy are currently on the sidelines but should be back for the latter stages of the season.

Jeremy Pied is unlikely to feature again before the end of the campaign.