I want to leave Southampton through a big door - Boufal

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The Moroccan playmaker did not want to leave St Mary's Stadium in the summer and he is determined to help the club in the Premier League

Sofiane Boufal has stated he never considered leaving Southampton during the summer transfer window despite interest from several La Liga and Ligue 1 clubs.

Boufal returned to the south coast in July at the end of his season-long loan at Celta Vigo and after Morocco's exit at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Prior to his temporary exit from Southampton, the 26-year-old had a bust-up with ex-manager Mark Hughes in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign. He had to play for the club's youth team at the time.

Boufal revived his career in Spain last season where he managed three goals and three assists in 35 La Liga outings, however, the Morocco international expressed his joy on his return to St Mary's Stadium.

"I am very happy to be here. My mindset was to always stay here," Boufal told Daily Echo.

“I spoke with the club during the summer and told them that I didn’t want to move and that I wanted to stay here.

“I am very motivated and happy to come back. I want to progress at this club and stay here. I want to leave the club through a big door and not a small door.”

Boufal is gradually becoming a key part of Ralph Hasenhuttl's squad this season, featuring in six of their seven league matches with two assists to his credit.

Upon his arrival at the club in the summer, the former Lille player revealed the discussion he had with the Austrian manager.

“It was a meeting where it was just about his philosophy and what it’s like to play in his team and everything else," he continued.

“I wasn’t nervous [to meet Hasenhuttl] because I was very, very focused on staying here – even if some other club wanted me.

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“I didn’t want to move and since the first day, I have been very focused.

“We always need to prove but, yes, I need to prove the most because I left the club not in a good way, so of course I wanted to show people I am here, and I will help you.”

After their 2-1 loss to Tottenham last Saturday, Boufal will be looking to help Southampton return to winning ways when they host Chelsea for Saturday's Premier League fixture.