Can Southampton's Zambia international Emmanuel Mayuka bounce back in the upcoming Premier League season after a poor first impression? Here is a scouting report on Mayuka's loan spell at Sochaux.
Mayuka is a 23-year-old 5'10", 165-pound centre-forward who also started as a right-forward.
Mayuka is pacey, two-footed and can turn an innocuous-looking play into a game-winning moment.
He has flashed potential as a goal threat.
He raced in behind Toulouse centre-back Jonathan Zebina and finished.
By the time Rennes centre-back John Boye turned his head, Mayuka was already airborne as he headed the ball past Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil.
You can see fragments of Chicharito-type poaching from Mayuka.
When he is in full flow, he takes the game to the opposing team.
This was on show when he dribbled past Toulouse central midfielder Abel Aguilar, dragged Toulouse central midfielder Pantxi Sirieix out of position and completed a pass to Sochaux central midfielder Vincent Nogueira.
Mayuka assertively cut past Marseille centre-back Souleymane Diawara and Marseille left-back Benjamin Mendy.
This enabled Mayuka to get into space, and Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda had no chance stopping Mayuka's blistering left-footed shot.
Against Bastia, Mayuka scored via a snap-shot, which was an impromptu decision.
It ended up being the right shot selection as he was closed down by Bastia centre-back Fethi Harek.
The shot took a slight deflection off Harek and wrong-footed Bastia goalkeeper Mickael Landreau.
|League Only||Goals/Games||Shots Per Goal||Assists||Key Passes Per Game|
|Dani Osvaldo||4/24 ||10.5||1||0.4|
 combined Southampton/Juventus (loan) performances.
Mayuka's shots per goal is more efficient than Osvaldo and Lambert.
However, Mayuka only averaged one shot per game and went on an 11-game run without scoring in Ligue 1.
That was why 63.7 percent of his performances were sub-affected, per Squawka.com, since he would have spurts of great play and then go missing for the rest of the game.
Mayuka started and finished on the bench in eight league games.
The red flag for Southampton management was Mayuka being the third-choice No. 9 under Sochaux manager Herve Renard behind Cedric Bakambu and Marseille loanee Jordan Ayew.
Even with the guidance of Renard, who coached Zambia to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations title, Mayuka lacks the consistency of a top-flight centre-forward.
"He [Mayuka] has an advantage because I know him very well," Renard said, per Oliver Chisenga at the Post. "I know what he is able to do but if he is not doing enough, I will push him."
Mayuka still believes he can make it at Southampton, which shows he has mental fortitude, per Oluwashina Okeleji at BBC Sport:
I won't consider my first season in England as a failure because I didn't really get enough opportunities.
On a personal note this loan [at Sochaux] has helped me regain confidence and I can take positives away even though I would have loved for the club to stay up.
They gave me a chance to enjoy regular football again. I can only thank the club and wish them well for the future.
Now my primary objective is to go back to Southampton to try and convince the manager that I deserve a chance in the team.
There is an opening at Southampton.
- Lambert left for his boyhood club Liverpool, per Liverpool's official website.
- Osvaldo was banished from Southampton and loaned out to Juventus after assaulting teammate Jose Fonte, per the Guardian.
Mayuka is quick, can finish with either foot and is an explosive make-something-happen type of footballer who needs one extended run as a starter at Southampton next season.
If he is on song, expect goals and acrobatic celebrations.
Statistics via WhoScored.com