The Gabon ace has been linked with a move to Old Trafford and he has made it clear he does not intend to stay at St Mary’s
Rumoured Manchester United target Mario Lemina has confirmed he is seeking a move away from Southampton and would prefer to remain in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old has been left out of the Saints’ squad for their pre-season training camp in Austria amid reports that United have been given permission to speak to him.
Arsenal and Leicester City are also said to have made contact with Lemina, who arrived at St Mary’s Stadium from Juventus two years ago in a reported £15 million ($19m) deal that could potentially rise to £18 million ($23m).
But the Gabon international has made it clear he wants to further his career elsewhere, with a move to another English club his priority.
“I am physically preparing myself at the training centre, with a few other players including Charlie Austin and Jordy Clasie,” he told France Football.
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“I did not accompany the team in training in agreement with the coach [Ralph Hasenhuttl]. He wants to build his group with the players who want to stay at the club, so he left me out.
“The best option for me would be to stay [in the Premier League], but I do not close the door to any club, no country. I aspire to play for the biggest clubs.
“I had chosen to leave Juventus for Southampton to have more playing time – I got it. I have made a good impression in England.”
Lemina missed four months of last season with an abdominal injury, but he insisted the problem is behind him and he is now fully fit.
“As early as last year, I had set my conditions: I wanted to go elsewhere this summer,” he said. “I was also very frustrated by my injury that lasted four months, so I really want to discover something else.
“I’m not afraid. I made a choice and I take it to the end. I stand by my plan. I decided to tell the leaders that I wanted to leave, there is no turning back.
“There is a risk, of course, but I know what I’m capable of. I’m 100 per cent fit and I’m going to prove that I can get back to my best.
“Some clubs may be more cautious, but they already know me. Today I am fully recovered, I have worked a lot. I am ready to move on. The injury is a very hard one to handle and it requires a lot of work. I did it and now I’m doing very well physically.”
Lemina has emerged as a potential target for United after impressing across his 52 appearances for Southampton.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have already lost midfielders Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini over the last five months, while Paul Pogba’s future also remains uncertain.
And after spending two years with Juventus, Lemina is hopeful that he can play for another big club.
“I’m trying to regain consistency and to become an important player in a team with high goals,” he said. “I need to play. That’s really my priority. I want to show everyone what I can do.
“Everything depends on the project that is proposed to me… There are many unknowns. I’m waiting, even if I already had some approaches. I really hope that it will be done quickly, to be able to be part of a team before the resumption of the league.”