Southampton forward Juanmi has revealed he hopes to move to Real Sociedad before the end of the current transfer window following Ronald Koeman's decision to bolster his attack with the arrival of Charlie Austin from QPR. The Spanish star and his agent have suggested that the clubs are already in negotiations to close the deal but believes it would not be easy, as the Premier League side are reluctant to let him go on permanent basis.
The 22-year-old forward moved to Southampton last summer after Koeman's side agreed to meet his €7m (£5.2m, $7.6m) release clause at Malaga following an impressive campaign in La Liga, scoring eight goals while earning a first call-up with the Spain national team. But the Spaniard has since struggled to make the impact expected in the Premier League, with his only two starting appearances coming in Capital One Cup games against MK Dons and Aston Villa.
Malaga were interested to lure him back to La Liga, but eventually turned their attention somewhere else after last month the striker himself said he was determined to turn around the situation in the second part of the campaign to "make a name" at the St Mary's Stadium.
However, the recent arrival of Austin to the club has seemingly changed his plans and the striker is now desperate to return to Spain, hoping that Real Sociedad could convince Southampton to part ways with him.
"[Joining Real Sociedad] is a good option for me," Juanmi admitted to Noticias de Gipuzkoa. "All the players want to play, and here [at Southampton] I am not having too many opportunities. I know the clubs are already talking and I would like them to reach an agreement. But I can not say much more."
His agent, Manuel Garcia Quilon, confirmed the news but claimed it would not be easy, as Real Sociedad want him on a permanent basis rather than on loan.
"We are in negotiations, but for now Southampton don't want to let him go. We are still on it. For now the issue is complicated, but we will keep trying," he said. "Real Sociedad want to buy him and this is not the first time they try to do it. They have very clear intentions since last summer to secure rights of Juanmi [on a permanent basis]."