Southampton look to be in for a very difficult season despite their reputation for developing great young talent. They now look in a poor state, with the latest player, Lovren leaving the club for Liverpool, following in the footsteps of Lambert and Lallana. With the likes of Shaw also leaving the club for a new challenge, Southampton have a lot of work to do to remain in the Premier League next season.
Following the aforementioned names, Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez are close to joining Spurs at the time of writing. Young Calum Chambers has joined Arsenal and he is one of the eleven players who have left the Saints. If Schneiderlin and Rodriguez leave, an incredible thirteen players will have switched clubs away from Southampton this summer.
Only two players have come in so far in the form of Graziano Pelle from Feyenoord and Dusan Tadic from FC Twente. Whilst unproven in the Premier League, players from the Dutch league do have a good record of performing well in England. Will they be able to help maintain Premier League status for the new look Southampton side? I’m not so sure.
Southampton need to reinvest and do so quickly if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation this season, with experienced players such as Fonte, Boruc and Wanyama remaining. Adding to these players is crucial as not only is the depth of the squad depleted, but so is the quality of the side. Players with Premier League experience need to be applied to the team to enable a season of endurance at the bottom of the table.
Players from recently relegated teams may be a good avenue for the Saints. The entire team needs to be looked at, and a strong core to be implemented through the spine of the team to enable a successful season. Players that might be a good choice include Odemwingie and a loan striker up front much like Lukaku. Robert Huth, Darren Bent, Steve Sidwell, Riise, Scott Parker and Shaun Wright-Phillips to name but a few. These sort of players all have Premier League experience and while some may be risky, it might pay off to evade the drop.
Away from team personnel, as well as Southampton have done last season, the change of managers, especially while in good form is a worrying sign. The biggest area for concern however, is the kit. With no kit manufacturer and therefore no income through this business element, Southampton have less money to spend and they will likely look worse than a Sunday league team come the beginning of the new campaign.
Perhaps the writing is on the wall. Southampton are this writer’s first choice for joining the Championship next year, which is unfortunate after the excitement they have brought to the Premier League and the great young players they produce.
Michael Laverty, Pundit Arena.