Published on July 31, 2014
Feast Day of St Ignatius of Loyola
Tags » Saints
It has been a turbulent 2014 at Southampton to say the least, the question is, can they bounce back?
It all really started back in January when chairman Nicola Cortese resigned, the Italian was a popular face at the club having played a strong role in their rise from League 1 into the Premier League but he left and that was when the first cracks started to appear.
Club owner Katharina Liebherr took over until a new chairman could be found, eventually Ralph Krueger would take over but he would be unable to stop what was happening with the club’s top talents.
The figurehead of those talents was the manager, Mauricio Pochettino joined back in January 2013 with the club fighting relegation, the stylish attacking play he got the team playing would prove vital as they stayed up that year before recording their best ever Premier League finish of 9th place last season.
Pochettino is one of the new breed of young coaches playing attacking, passing football which we associate with teams like Barcelona and Arsenal and he would quickly become a wanted man, at the end of last season he became the new manager of Tottenham replacing Tim Sherwood, the Argentine would be replaced at St Marys by Ronald Koeman.
Southampton are a club known for helping to develop superb talents whether it be directly from their academy or as a young player not fancied by another club, examples of this include Arsenal duo Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as well as the Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, last season it would be names such as Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers which were the top talents coming out of the academy
Last season, we saw a number of Saints players get England caps, Shaw, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez were all involved in England colours during the year, with all bar Rodriguez getting a place in the World Cup squad, they were only there because they had impressed the most in a very impressive Southampton side.
So what happened?
With no disrespect to Southampton but they aren’t a Liverpool or a Manchester United, so it is incredibly difficult to hold on to the top players when the big boys come knocking at the door, that is exactly what happened, first it was Liverpool, the Anfield club bought Rickie Lambert for around £4m and then Adam Lallana for around £25m
Teenage left-back Luke Shaw left for Manchester United for a fee around £27m with another full-back on his way out, this time it would be Calum Chambers with Arsenal securing his signature for what is believed to be a deal around £16m.
Liverpool came back in for a hattrick of Saints signings, centre-back Dejan Lovren would swap St Marys for Anfield at a price of £20m, it doesn’t end there with Spurs under Pochettino looking set to capture Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez although this time it appears that Southampton will put up more of a fight with the chairman saying that ‘they will not be sold’
If the deal does go through with Schneiderlin and Rodriguez it would be likely around £35m more to go into the club taking their total income from this summers transfers to a quite incredibe £127m, though they haven’t exactly been that busy in bringing players to the club.
Only three players have been brought in by Koeman, the first is a striker which will replace Rickie Lambert, the Italian striker Graziano Pelle joins from Feyenoord for around £8m and if he can carry on his prolific goalscoring record that he had in the Eredivise then Saints fans may have reason to smile this season.
They have also signed Serbian playmaker Dusan Tadic from Twente for around £10m, he will most likely come in as a replacement for Adam Lallana, this week, Southampton also secured a left-back in the shape of Chelsea’s Ryan Bertrand who joins on a season long loan.
For Southampton it is a case of doing quick business to boost their squad in time for the season as it is currently looking very thin, particularly in defence and up front, it is quite ironic that their first game of the season is away to Liverpool, now equipped with Lovren, Lallana and Lambert.
It is a great shame for the club that this exodus has happened, but it is a case that Southampton have paid the price for their own success, though they have now got a massive amount of money to attract players, it will be an interesting few weeks to see what business they do.