Day 11 Still No Incoming Thursday, 11th Jan 2018 11:07
When Saints announced before the transfer window had even opened that Virgil Van Dijk would be sold to Liverpool, the St Mary's faithful assumed that his replacement was already lined up.
Saints fans were not surprised to hear that Virgil Van Dijk would be sold to Liverpool, they were slightly surprised that this was announced before the transfer window was even open and shocked that the player should be allowed to pose in a Liverpool shirt whilst still a Southampton player, but they assumed that Saints were getting the business done early to allow them to bring in a replacement early doors.
After all it was not as if this was a total shock to the club that the Dutch defender wanted to leave, in essence they had had over four months to line up his replacement, so surely he would be primed and ready to step straight in.
But here we are 11 days in to the transfer window, yet there has been no replacement for Van Dijk brought into the club and we have important games coming up, games that if we go into with the same defenders then we will get the same results.
I am on record that I feel that Saints have a good squad and are in a false position, however something different has to be done and that is replacing players in positions that we have lost quality players in, Wesley Hoedt was a replacement for Jose Fonte, Van Dijk now needs to be replaced and given that Charlie Austin is now likely to miss half of the remainder of the season we need another forward in.
If we dont do this fast then we will get the same results we have been seeing and that is poor marking costing us goals at the back and a lack of goals.
I understand that the Saints board need to make sure they make the right decisions, but they have had plenty of time to do that, I understand that the January window is notoriously difficult and overpriced, but Liverpool managed to sign Van Dijk Ok, we got a higher price for him, we can use that to subsidise the fact that we have to pay more for our targets.
I have also stuck up for Les Reed and Ralph Krueger, I truly believe that their track record over the last four years is as good as anything we have seen before at Southampton FC, that being the case then they deserve the patience from the fans to be given the time to get it right, Ralph Krueger was right the only position that counts is the one at the end of the season, but that doesn't mean you sit back and hope things turn out for the best, sometimes you have to be decisive.
The fact that we have won only one League game in almost three months should have set alarm bells ringing, we should be proactive.
I still back them both to get it right, I have no confidence in the manager at present, but accept that he has had some mitigating circumstances and can understand why Reed & Krueger are giving him time.
But time is running out, we are into day 11 of the transfer window and there is no movement, a year ago the fact that we did not replace Jose Fonte ultimately cost us the League Cup Final and I think Claude Puel's job as he had to go ultra defensive in midfield to cover our shortcomings at the back.
A year on and those shortcomings are still costing us dearly and we could pay the ultimate price, all managers and football boards make mistakes, making mistakes will happen, but what is a crime is when they don't learn from them and repeat them and that looks the case again at the moment to be brutally honest.
So almost half way in the transfer window, it now looks as if nothing will change for the trip to Watford, a game that could either see us peg them back and move up the table or could see us drop into the bottom three.
Make no mistake urgent action is needed with this football team, sooner than later !
Reed is probably trawling through the 15th plus choice players as all the agents have had enough of trying to to a deal with him. He will panic as the tension rises as in every window over the last 5 years and buy a cut-price crock who plays 10 mins a season for his present club as he is so far down the pecking order. Perhaps no one has told Reed that we're 17th.
Well said Nick. I have said before that we need a New Striker before the Watford game. I thought after the bad start to the season we have had Reed and Co would have had a Striker lined up to sign on 1st Jan. Looks like they are trying to make do with the squad we have now just to save MONEY.
It's a seller's market at this time of year. Selling clubs, under no pressure at all to sell, can hold out for silly money and the only way to get players in very early is to pay it. Can imagine we'll need to wait a bit longer.
Conversely, the prospect of new players coming in will hopefully put a rocket up one or two.
I agree with DorsetIan. You don't just pop down the road and pick up a new player from 'Players R Us'.
I'm sure we have a target list - sorted, then we have to approach the player's club, then player/agent, then persuade them to come to the mighty Saints (currently 17th in the Prem!), then negotiate a price & terms and hope we're not gazumped by other clubs in the meantime.
But as Ian said - it's a sellers market and ultimately they can delay a deal until they're sure they'll not get a better price from elsewhere.
Also, I'm not sure every player we approach is excited about the prospect of moving to a club going into a relegation battle.
Impossible to believe that Les Reed or anyone connected with the club hasn't been aware of the squad requirements and the importance of getting quality players signed. If the current board aren't capable of keeping the club in top flight then they should be replaced with people who can. I was never a great fan of Cortese but I could never accuse him of being complacent. This situation smacks of complacency and I want to be proved wrong very, very quickly.
Question is how much do you have to pay a club to get a player in early doors in Jan ?
VVD was 15m overpriced in my opinion so Liverpool overpaid by 25 percent but some of that was also payback for being naughty In the summer.
So if you say you have to overpay but 15 to 20 percent to get them In at the start you are talking on a 18/20mil player 2.5 to 3.5 million extra.
That would give a much better chance in 3 winnable and 1 drawable games in Jan. We have blown one winnable already.
Seems like very risky penny pinching with all that money in the bank from VVD sale and all our previous money pinching NET transfer windows. It was just about ok when were top half and Kats greed was in the mix but now seems plain risky.
I think this penny pinching and Les failure to accept he has made a bad appointment will be what costs us.
Ps Who can see Stoke having a mini revival under O'Neil? , who thinks Swansea look a bit tighter in defence etc...our rivals are all making moves as well. That has to be considered
If we do not get the required players in asap, it begs the question.....what exactly is our mysterious owner in this for? The VvD money, possible parachute payments and the guaranteed fire sale should we go down represents a tidy profit. Cynical? Maybe.....but the owner and the board must see where we are heading?
Nick, While I share your frustration with the alarming slowness of Reed and Co in recruiting replacements I agree with SaintBen, you are deluding yourself and misleading others...they brought in Hoedt as VVD's replacement since they had already decided that Stephens and Yoshida were (along with Bednarek and possibly even Gardos) sufficient first choices and injury/suspension cover. No doubt you will find this unbelievable and foolish (and I don't disagree) but I do think that is the way it is.
I would like to think that given this "is" their current stance they would use the money available to bring in a Pelle/Lambert style striker, a goalscoring/opportunity making winger and a goalscoring No.10. The latter is so overdue for several seasons (since the disappointment of Ramires) and while I think Boufal could in time with good coaching fulfil thar role rather well to the benefit of Gabbiadini, now is not the moment to put him there.
The position at the bottom of the table is scary. There are no obvious relegation candidates that have lost touch with the rest so all 3 relegation slots are up for grabs. Saints are in a prime position to fill one of those slots. Doing nothing is not really an option.
If Reed & Co think they don't need to sign another CB then we are in trouble. We absolutely need another quality, dominant CB or we'll conceed too many sloppy goals with either Yoshida and Stephens on the pitch. While Yoshida has improved a lot on what he was a few years ago, and his attitude is brilliant, he's still too often got an error in him, and isn't quite good enough for the Premiership. As for Stephens, if only he could defend. He's great on the ball but he's so weak in the air and defensively he's not up to it. Hoedt might be the best defender we have at the moment but only just. He needs to up his game, and a top class defender next to him will help that.
As for our attack, as Exiled says, we need a 'Pelle/Lambert style striker, a goalscoring/opportunity making winger and a goalscoring No.10.'
Saints transfer policy seems to be death by a thousand cuts.Every time we wait and wait and it really is frustrating.like you said Nick you would of thought that we would of had someone on the radar, problem is a lot of good quality players look at our position in league and won't want to come here for a relegation fight.
I've rarely - if ever - seen Saints sign anyone in the first week of the window.
Obviously our present situation is worrying / disturbing / crtitical, but we'd all like to see some urgent action. There are so many "fake news media threads" running that it's impossible to know exactly who we are serious about and what is just plain speculation.
The Walcott saga may never come to pass, as Wenger is still putting him on the bench every game, if indeed he does leave - it may well be for an overpriced fee to a club who panic on the last day -and that doesn't sound like the " Southampton Way".
The CB situation will sort itself in time, but we really need " a tall old-fashioned CF" who can put himself about a bit, the Beattie, Lambert, Pelle type model. Buying in youngsters from the Championship, or Chelsea reserves isn't the answer, even if they are scoring a few goals this season. On paper, our present " strike force " isn't inexperienced, but sadly out of form. As it is we must rely on Charlie Austin getting / staying fit, as at present no-one looks like they are likely to start scoring "big time ".
I won't try to forecast the outcome of Tottenham's visit, but the games v. Watford and Brighton are typical of the type of games that we should be winning if we are to be considered as even a middle-range Prem. outfit.
We still need patience, so I only hope that the eventual signings will be worthwhile.
Bottom line is we need a replacement for VvD or Fonte - as Hoedt only replaces one and Bednarek is one for the future, plus Yoshi and Stephens are not of the required standard. We also need a replacement for JRod up front and the addition of a pacey winger wouldn't go amiss either. We are always quick to sell and slow to recruit, which frustrates everyone. I don't know if it is penny pinching to hold out for lower prices, or they are enjoying the interest from the money in the bank. Perhaps what they should have done is bought their targets before allowing VvD to be sold ? The team really needs an injection of new blood to freshen things up and at least one, if not 2, should have been brought in by now, in preparation for the massive game we have at Watford this weekend.
I do not think a replacement for VVD is our main concern. I think our problems at the back have largely been down to inept goalkeeping. Too many goals have been conceded from close range headers with Forster rooted to his line. His inability to command his area and to deal with crosses has cost us dear. Leaving the central defenders repeatedly having to cope alone with high balls inevitably means they will not always be successful. It is well known that a confident, positive goalkeeper spreads confidence to the rest of the defence so it is hardly surprising that we have looked less than secure this season. If McCarthy is not seen as the answer then a top priority should be to sign a decent keeper who is capable of rectifying these issues. It also seems to me we should sign a quality striker and a creative midfielder - easier said than done I guess. At the very least we need some additions to refresh the squad.
There might well have been signings lined up for January but any quality player is going to have looked at Saints precarious position with a scary fixture list and make their own conclusions about whether a relegation fight and a few season in the Championship is what they really want.
Maybe a loan or two might be negotiated but I suspect we'll be using pretty much the squad we currently have, minus one or two.
I’m still reluctant to put our problems down to “Kat’s greed”. It feels wrong to accuse the daughter of the club’s saviour of draining the club, especially without any evidence to prove this. And I totally understand her reluctance to want to spend her own money in a project that wasn’t hers in the first place. The fact she’s stuck around to give us a few seasons of exciting football is testament to her. That said I am totally confused about what the long term plans are for the club and what the new owner is doing here. If he’s got no money then we should at least be seeing any money from sales being instantly reinvested. Plus the so-called “enhance TV right’s money.” We’ve had months to resolve this situation. We’ve not got bad overnight. We’ve been getting worse and worse since the last third of Puel’s reign. I’ve not seen such negativity from Saints’ fans. Goodness knows how many tickets we’ll sell for the FA Cup game. I know a bunch of season ticket holders who are saying they wouldn’t go if you paid them. They’re so disillusioned by what they see week in, week out at the moment, compounded by what appears to be “a press on we’ll be okay” attitude from the club.
PS, Nick it’s purely subjective to say that the sale of Fonte cost us the League Cup. If I remember correctly Stephens had a pretty decent game against Liverpool at Anfield in the semis. There’s no guarantee that a replacement would have done any better in the semis or the final. I still think the officials ultimately cost us that day.
If players are not prepared for a fight or are too concerned about relegation to sign for Saints; then are not the type or players that we need or want at the club.
I also dislike loan moves at this time of year as well, because the player is in effect washing their hands of any relegation worry. If it goes wrong, they don't care, they'll just return to their parent club. Walcott might be the exception to this, as he has plenty of history with the club to care about its future position, but I'd prefer any player to full sign.
Patience is required in January because it is a seller market.
I was sadly deluded in thinking that the speed of the VVD sale might be linked to us moving quickly to bring new blood in. It is of course a seller's market but when you have to buy you have to buy in the market there is. My fear is we will reject anything decent because it is overpriced and end up with nothing. That WILL mean relegation. I respect those who say the squad is good or not bad but I believe that is wishful thinking in the extreme.
Do I sense Nick that you are coming over to the dark side at last even if reluctantly as your piece critical as it is about what's not happening in this transfer window is still littered with apologies to those who are notionally running our club.
The mistake you are making 'though is that you seem to see only good in the clowns running the club and have never entertained the thought that they might be self-seeking greedy bar stewards whose only real interest might be themselves.
Right now they are screwing up big time and the new owner is not going to sit back for ever and do nothing about it. They will have realised this and will be doing everything they can to shore up their own positions so that if they are given the big heave-ho - which they richly deserve for their woeful performances this year - they will not leave empty handed.
Severance packages for "big men" are usually quite big because of all the legal stuff they tie around themselves to make sure they will always be "all right"! Consequently don't be surprised if the least of their worries is the future of SFC and the trivialities of a January transfer window. It is highly likely that they've washed their hands of involvement don't with firing the idiot in the dug out - leave that for Gao to sort out - or wasting their time searching for new players who may have little impact on our performances or our fate this season.
Nick, Nick, Nick...Have you finally escaped the Les Reed Cult?
Previous windows, you would go on about how it was not the Southampton Way to rush things-while the quality players and managers were snapped up by smaller clubs. The board knew what they were doing and were sticking to the Five Year Plan. Les and Co. surely had quality signings in the pipeline.
Well, welcome to reality. A properly run team has a list of replacements ready in case a player or manager moves. As soon as the player or manager starts making noises, they start talking to the agents of his possible replacements. A properly run club would have had deals already in place to sign as soon as the VVD money came in-and that deal was done back in the summer and they were just waiting for this window.
Anyway, a CB is not our main priority-scoring goals is! As Abbosaint points out, Forster's mistakes led to the one or two goals per game that lost games because we couldn't score more than one! If we could have scored just 2 in a lot of games, we would be mid-table.
Pelle and Mane took 23 goals out the door when they left, and have never been replaced (the old Nick said they were "easily replaced"). That need has not been addressed and unfortunately, there is little or no hope that it will be in this window.
If Les and Ralphie are not going to take the team seriously, let's hope they sign Balotelli and get Osvaldo back--at least it will be fun watching them and Boufal fight each other for the ball!
I've read that because of the way the installments are, and after the Celtic sell on fee we only receive £17.5m this window from the VVD sale. That doesn't buy much these days, especially after signing on fee, and especially as I think we could really do with a couple of additions.
Makes me wonder if selling VVD hasn't put us at a big disadvantage in the short-term. Long-term £75m is great business but if we can't spend it trying to save up it could be a very expensive mistake not to get more of the fee upfront, even if it meant a smaller overall fee...