Southampton are not shy when it comes to loosening the purse strings and this, perceivably, has earned them favouritism to finish above Fulham in the Premier League this season.
However, a punt on the 6/5-rated underdogs could be the smart way to go in the quest for a long-term profit.
Mauricio Pochettino arrived in England with the frailest grasp of the nation’s mother tongue and expectations of failure following his fading out at Espanyol, where he left them bottom of La Liga. Still, he managed to steer the Saints clear of the drop and record some surprise victories over Manchester City and Liverpool en route.
An outlay north of £20m has seen Victor Wanyama and former Lyon defender Dejan Lovren added to their wage bill but, while their centre back issue was in dire need of addressing, they were well stocked on defensive midfielders.
Morgan Schneiderlin and Jack Cork were arguably their two star performers last term and upsetting their anchoring partnership in front of Saints’ back four could spell disaster. The arrival of Wanyama hints that Pochettino could be about to do just that, unless they wish to use the Kenyan in his secondary role in the centre of defence.
After forking out such a hefty sum, though, it would seem bizarre to utilise the 22-year-old in such a way. These funds should have been invested in a centre forward to help ease the pressure on Ricky Lambert, while they’re not inundated with quality out wide either.
Also, the second season in the top flight can often prove more challenging than the first and anything above 18th place after 38 games will be considered a success for Southampton.
Fulham, as mundane as they appear, can always be relied upon for consistency and, with the addition of a striker, they’ll be in prime position to repeat the feat they achieved last term when they finished two places and as many points above the St Mary’s side.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date