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Carrillo Needs to Find His Feet Quickly at Southampton
Tuesday, 30th Jan 2018 15:43

It’s certainly not been an easy campaign for Southampton, as the normally European driven saints have struggled near the wrong end of the Premier League table and currently occupy a spot in the relegation zone.

Mauricio Pellegrino’s side find themselves one point from safety in the Premier League standings, sitting just two points above Swansea City and West Brom, and need considerable improvements in the second-half of the campaign.

One major problem area for the Saints this season has been in the final third, with Southampton scoring just 24 goals in 24 games- with their leading scorer being Charlie Austin, who has six goals.

Pellegrino’s side have certainly been overly reliant on the 28-year-old English striker, with no other player in the squad scoring more than five, and Austin hasn’t even been a regular starter this season- with 11 of his 16 appearances in the league this season coming off the bench.

Something clearly needs to change then and Southampton have made a significant move in an attempt to turn things around.

Record-breaking addition

Southampton are not afraid to spend money to improve their attacking options, having signed Manolo Gabbiadini last January and seeing the Italian striker enjoy a fine start to life in English football, but those stellar performances have since decreased as Gabbiadini has a return of just three goals in 21 appearances this term.

Fortunately for Southampton, a new forward has arrived in the form of Guido Carrillo after the Saints secured his services from French champions Monaco- paying a club-record fee for the 26-year-old Argentine.

Carrillo arrives after spending three-years with the French principality side, scoring 15 league goals in 65 appearances, though he started to seek an exit with a decrease in opportunities over the course of the past 18 months.

Monaco’s loss may well be Southampton’s gain though and Pellegrino will hope that the South American provides an instant impact to his side, who face an extremely tight battle to avoid relegation contrary to the odds.

Further changes

The concern for Southampton is that Carrillo, on his own, may not be enough to turn the Saints’ fortune around but other changes have been rumoured, with the South Coast side said to be considering replacing Pellegrino with former Watford boss Marco Silva.

On the transfer front, Carrillo has been the only recruit this month and a huge void was left in the side by the sale of Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool for £75m. On top of that, further questionable decisions have been made defensively- including loaning Matt Targett to Fulham.

The defensive duo had made 14 Premier League appearances between them and their absences leave clear voids in the Southampton squad, as Pellegrino’s side now lack significant depth outside the first-team.
Conceding 35 goals this season is certainly not amongst the worst defensive records in the Premier League but improvements are needed across the team if avoiding relegation is to be achieved. As such, Southampton need to spend more of the money they received for Van Dijk.

The battle ahead

Changes need to be secured quickly as Southampton are heading into a crucial stage in the season, with the FA Cup win over Watford this weekend providing a boost to morale and momentum.

But the forthcoming Premier League clashes are extremely significant though, as the Saints face back-to-back matches against fellow strugglers Brighton and West Brom before important games with top-four chasing Liverpool and high-flying Burnley, with the next five league matches wrapping up with a tie against Stoke City- who currently sit just a single point above the Saints in the table.

Southampton need to start getting points on the board before we enter the most difficult stage of the campaign, where the Saints face Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton and Manchester City in their final six matches of the season.

Should points not be secured in the coming weeks against the sides around them in the division, Southampton will end up with a huge task on their hands and it may be too late for the South Coast side to save themselves for the drop.

That’s why the remainder of the January transfer window is significant and Carrillo needs to find his feet in the Premier League quickly, as Southampton can’t afford to wait for him to settle.

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