Southampton have completed the singing of Norwich winger Nathan Redmond for a fee of around £10m, according to BBC Sport. After three years at Norwich, the 22 year old decided to leave Carrow Road after the Canaries were relegated from the Premier League for the second time in three seasons.
In recent days the Saints confirmed the sale of winger Sadio Mane. The Senegalese winger completed his move to Liverpool for a fee reported to be around £30m-£35m. With the winger’s departure to Anfield, Southampton will have to replace him and Redmond seems like the obvious replacement. So will Redmond be able to replace Mane?
Mane contributed (scored or assisted) to 29% of Southampton’s goals this season with 11 league goals and six assists. That is a lot of production for Southampton to replace, especially considering Redmond scored only six goals and assisted three in a similar number of minutes played.
Obviously, goals and assists aren’t the best way to evaluate players. The underlying creative numbers suggest that Redmond could do a capable job of replacing Mane’s output. The Englishman actually created more chances per 90 minutes than Mane did, despite having half as many assists. He also had a similar number of dribbles completed per 90 minutes. While dribbling isn’t exactly a definitive creative stat, Southampton are already a team that lack dribblers, so they’ll need to be able to replace that skill.
In terms of goal scoring, Redmond will be hard pressed to replicate Mane’s borderline elite production. Mane and Alexis Sanchez are the only two non strikers to score more than 10 goals in both of the last two seasons and Mane has finished in the top three in terms of shots from inside the box per 90 minutes from non strikers in both of the last two seasons. He’s been a pretty fantastic wide goal scorer in his two years at St Mary’s and that kind of production is just hard to replace (you can read more on his production here).
Not only is it tough for anyone to replace Mane’s goal production, but Redmond has never been a big goalscorer. In his two Premier League seasons, Redmond scored 0.2 non penalty goals per 90 minutes, where last season Mane scored 0.38 non penalty goals per 90 minutes. He also averaged 1.3 shots inside the box over those two seasons, an entire shot less than Mane did last season.
Ultimately, Redmond’s just not the goalscorer Mane is. Over his club career, he has only scored 18 league goals in 174 appearances. Replacing Mane will be a challenge for the Saints. Redmond is more of a wide midfielder that likes to cut inside where Mane is a true wide forward. To put it simply, Redmond will struggle to replace the goals that Mane brought.
Southampton are in the middle of another summer full of turnover with the sales of Wanyama and Mane and the loss of manager Ronald Koeman. They’ve been able to come out of these tumultuous summers before for the better. If they’re to improve again, they’ll have to hope that either Redmond improves the goal scoring side of his game or find a different outlet for goals.
*All data and the three comparison maticies in this article is from Squwaka.com