SAINTS aren't in advanced negotiations with French side OSG Nice over the sale of Sofiane Boufal.

It was reported in L'Equipe that the Moroccan international was being targeted by Nice and that they had agreed on an £8.5m fee with Saints.

However, the Daily Echo understands these reports are wide of the mark.

Boufal has been away with the Morocco national team to compete in this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations.

However, their run came to an end when they were beaten on penalties by Benin in the last 16.

The 25-year-old will now embark on a break, along with new signing Moussa Djenepo, before being expected to return for pre-season at Staplewood.

L’Equipe suggested that Boufal's transfer could go through by the end of the week as the Saints midfielder was said to be keen on the move.

He initially joined the St Mary's outfit from French team Lille back in 2016 and has gone on to make 59 appearances.

During that time he netted just four times, including his excellent effort against West Brom.

It was perhaps his brightest moment in a Saints shirt and showed fans what he is capable of on his day.

Boufal picked the ball up in his half and then proceeded to weave his way in and out of the West Brom team before slotting his strike into the back of the net.

Former boss Mark Hughes shipped the playmaker out on loan to Spanish side Celta Vigo last season, scoring three times from 35 appearances.

It's been claimed that the La Liga team are interested in taking him back for another campaign on a temporary basis.

And with his chances of breaking into the Saints team looking slim, a move away makes sense.

But, as with Guido Carrillo's situation, Saints would prefer a permanent transfer.

Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has already been adding to his squad with the signings of Djenepo and Che Adams, with him also targetting another central defender.

Due to the additions, Hasenhuttl will want to trim his squad down before the Premier League season starts against Burnley on 10 August.

Because of this, Saints will want to recoup some of the £16m they paid for Boufal back in 2016, which was a club-record fee at the time.

Boufal is about to enter the final two years of his south coast contract, having signed a lucrative five-year deal.