Southampton Team Guide: Saints can avoid relegation despite exodus
Team Name: Southampton
Manager: Ronald Koeman
Last Season: 8th
Who they’ve signed so far: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea, loan), Fraser Forster (Celtic, £10m), Graziano Pelle (Feyenoord, undisclosed), Dusan Tadic (FC Twente, £10.9m), Saphir Taider (Inter Milan, loan).
Out of the exit door: Adam Lallana (Liverpool, £25m), Rickie Lambert (Liverpool, £4m), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool £20m), Calum Chambers (Arsenal, undisclosed), Luke Shaw (Manchester United, £27m), Lee Barnard (Southend United, free), Danny Fox (Nottingham Forest, free), Lloyd Isgrove (Peterborough, free), Dani Osvaldo (Inter Milan, loan), Andy Robinson (Bolton Wanderers, loan), Jack Stephens (Swindon Town, loan).
Star Man: Jay Rodriguez
In what has been a hectic summer for Southampton, with players streaming through the exit doors at St Mary’s, keeping hold of striker Jay Rodriguez could prove to be a key piece of business for new manager Ronald Koeman.
Injury will keep the England international out for the early part of this season but with the likes of Dusan Tadic, Saphir Taider and striker Graziano Pelle having to adapt to life in England, Rodriguez will have to hit the ground running when he is scheduled to return in December.
The 25-year-old fired 15 league goals for the Saints last year and was on the brink of England’s World Cup squad before injury struck and if he can return to somewhere near last season’s form he will be a vital asset to Koeman in his first season in charge.
Under the Radar: Dusan Tadic
It will be very interesting to see how Dusan Tadic adapts to life in the Premier League following his switch from FC Twente.
Followers of the Eredivisie will know all about the talent he possesses after averaging almost a goal every two games for the Reds and Saints fans will be hoping he can fill the void left by Adam Lallana.
The 25-year-old can play in the middle of the park but has the versatility to be used in a free role and Koeman, who has managed in Holland for the last five years, will be hoping he can help bring the best out of the Serbian’s talents out in England.
Team Liability: Morgan Schneiderlin
The Frenchman was one of the standout performers for Southampton last season but how committed to the cause will he be after Saints blocked his move to join former boss Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham?
Schneiderlin has not featured in pre-season after telling the club he was ‘not mentally or physically ready to play’ and with the Premier League kick-off just days away, it is unknown when he will be ready to play again.
Southampton’s firm stance (finally!) has to be applauded but if the French international becomes a disruptive influence in the dressing room, it could backfire!
Title Odds: 1500/1
Best Bet: Southampton to finish in bottom 10 @ 1/2
It has been a turbulent few months for the Saints but with new manager Ronald Koeman settled in and new faces finally joining the squad the situation looks a little rosier at least.
The mass exodus from St Mary’s saw the Saints cut from 40/1 to as short as 4/1 for relegation but signings such as Dusan Tadic and Fraser Forster look to be shrewd business and with more transfer business to come in the next couple of weeks the doom and gloom of a few weeks ago would have passed.
But it still remains to be seen how the club copes with the loss of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers, not to mention former manager Mauricio Pochettino.
If Koeman can get all the new faces in his squad to gel quickly Southampton could be pushing for another top 10 finish but it looks a tough ask for someone with no Premier League experience.
But safety will be the first order of the day and it looks as if they have re-built the squad sufficiently to avoid relegation.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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