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Who Might Go In The Saints Clear Out !
Wednesday, 12th Dec 2018 09:37

Ralph Hasenhuttl has said the Saints squad is to big, is he right ? and who is likely to move on in January and for how much.

New Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has spoken of how the Saints squad is to big and how it needs to be trimmed, but trimming it will be another matter especially as some are on wages far higher than they would get elsewhere.

Saints have been accused of a lack of ambition, that is not quite accurate as a couple of years ago they showed ambition by signing up players to good contracts , however this seems to have come back and bitten them on two fronts, on the first the likes of Virgil Van Dijk showed that a contract means nothing even if it still has four years left to run, on the second it means that if you are not performing then you are stuck on the books and not willing to take a massive pay cut.

Saints first team squad was down to the bare bones at Cardiff for Hasenhuttl's first game in charge it had three central defenders on it, but it was good reason, virtually every other fit player at the club was in the matchday 18, but add the 5 out injured, plus another 6 with first team experience out on loan and you have a squad that numbers around 30.

So if Saints are to buy in the summer then they need to shift a few bodies first and not just for financial reasons, to make space in the squad.

But finances is a big part of it as well, they need to not only raise cash to help fund transfer fees, but they also need to free up wages, it should be noted that even spending £57 million in the summer the biggest outlay is wages not transfer fees and that is the same at most Premier League clubs.

So although Saints will have some funds available for transfer fees they still need to sell.

So who could they sell in January and how much could they get.

First up is the goalkeepers department, we are definitely top heavy here, we have 5 keepers on our books and that is far too many.

The two first choice keepers at present will stay, although I would say that if Angus Gunn did force his way into the team then it would not surprise me to see Saints sell Alex McCarthy and install Fraser Forster as deputy if only for the fact that due to his wages nd longevity of his contract they cannot shift Forster, not the players fault he only signed what he was offered but he will not get half of that elsewhere and that means that he stays put.

Also the problem is that most Premier League teams do not need goalkeepers.

So what about the other two, Harry Lewis and Jack Rose.

Lewis spent last season on loan at Dundee Utd at 20 he is one for the future, but with Angus Gunn only two years older it seems progress will be limited he would have a transfer value of a million or two but no more, but it all counts.

Jack Rose was signed from West Brom a year ago and seems to be on the books merely as a fall back, at 23 he has a few games out on loan, but is miles off selection for the first team here, he will have no value, we might just be able to trim the wage bill here no more.

In the outfield players most likely to go will be Steven Davis, his contract is up at the end of the season and he will turn 34 in January, he has been a great signing for the club, but all good things must come to an end, I would imagine he will be offered a free transfer to Rangers in January in reward for his service and to help sweeten a drop in wages for the final six months of his contract, it will free up a squad place and a million or so in wages.

In the centre of defence we are also top heavy, to be blunt Vestegaard and Hoedt are under fire but they are still under long contracts and on big money some are willng to condemn them, but both have potential and will stay as will Bedanrek, but if Saints are in the market for another defender and they already have five then two have to go and that looks like one or both of Yoshida and Jack Stephens.

This will cause controversy but we have to look at all aspects here, both have been at the club for 6 -8 years, in that time neither has truly established themselves as first team regulars except in emergencies.

They are still here for two reasons firstly no one has put in a serious bid even when they were way out of the picture under Ronald Koeman and secondly they don't seem to have any ambition to move.

But that doesn't make it good for Saints, Yoshida will go into the last year of his current contract next summer and will turn 31, this January will be the last chance to get a fee for him, to be ruthless and we need to be here, we could probably get a couple of million for him now as well as trimming the wage bill.

Likewise Jack Stephens he still has 3 1/2 years on his contract and he will turn 25 in January, he is not going to get any better, he is good enough for a Championship club to pay a few million for and it is time for us to take it.

In the midfield James Ward Prowse is at a crossroads, the next month will be key, he has been a bit part player under Mark Hughes can he establish himself under Hasenhuttl, his problem is there are a lot of players in his position, if Saints keep Lemina, Romeu and Hojbjerg and also have Armstrong, there is a lot of traffic in the midfield.

But this is an area that we need to trim and I would suggest that one of either JWP or Romeu may be surplus to requirements and that we could get £10 million for either.

Up front we again need to trim, Shane Long, Manolo Gabbiadini and Charlie Austin could all go, the Italian would fetch the biggest fee probably around £10 million and perhaps it's time to take it, he is a fan favourite but the truth is over the last 12 months he has only scored 3 times in the Premier League as opposed to Shane Long's 2 goal haul, given that Long will attract a far less fee and is better suited to the new managers pressing game I would expect Gabbiadini to be a possible departure.

He could be joined by Charlie Austin, his reputation means that even though he is injury prone we could still get a fee for him, sell him and Gabbiadini and you get £14 million or so in transfer fees and take £100 k a week plus off the wage bill.

Then it is about looking to get shot of the players out on loan.

Harrison Reed is a fans favourite, but turning 24 in January and with a grand total of 538 minutes of Premier League experience for Saints ie around 6 full games he is not going to break into the team ahead of our current central midfielders, he is doing well at Blackburn, it is time for him to move on as a player and we could get a couple of million for him.

Although Josh Sims is struggling to break into a poor Reading side he has potential and I would eave him where he is.

Jordy Clasie is at Feyenoord it is time to make the deal permanent if only to free up his wages of which we are still paying some.

That leaves our two big signings Guido Carrillo & Sofiane Boufal, both still have decent transfer values, both are on far too big wages to want to go anywhere permanently.

In truth I don't think Carrillo has had a fair crack of the whip, yes he didn't score for us, but then again nor did anyone else in his 5 Premier League starts plus 2 as sub, away from home he made contributions namely at West Brom and Burnley, two games that yielded 4 points and kept us up, I think he might suit Hasenhuttl's style

Boufal is another story, if we could get £10 million for him which is his value then that would be great, truth is with 2 1/2 years on his contract he is going nowhere just yet, the best we can hope is to offset some of those wages with a loan move.

So at my estimate we could probably raise around £30 million if we sold Lewis, Yoshida, Stephens, Davis, JWP/Romeu, Gabbiadini, Austin, Clasie, Reed, that would go a long way to funding two key signings in January and would not only free up five places in the squad, but save around £300-350k a week in wages.

That wages total is the most frightening and i have been conservative in my estimates, that is the equivalent of around £16 million a year for players that between them have only made around 30 Premier League starts this season, a quarter of those by Charlie Austin.

So this is my opinion of who we should sell this summer, no bias or sentiment attached, I have looked at it in cold hard facts including appearances made contract length and probability of being able to move them on.

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saintmark1976 added 10:02 - Dec 12
A long and well constructed post Nick. Where it falls down is suggesting that other clubs would be remotely interested in paying anything approaching decent money for the players you mention. We are in the relegation zone for a reason and it's not because any of the players are quality is it?

Pat1313 added 10:07 - Dec 12
How about Hesketh? And whom can we bring in that will not demand high wages.

saintlee added 10:12 - Dec 12
We need to get rid of all of our centre backs bar Bednarek. The rest just arent good enough. Harsh but fair I feel. Steven Davis is past his best. Been a great player but should be allowed ro return to Rangers. Ward-Prowse is living on the edge in my opinion. Hasnt lived up to his potential. Same for Targett. Austin is a rumoured target for Newcastle so he could be gone. Knowing our board they will kerp that lot and sell Lemina just to balance the books. Cynical arent I ?? Oh the joys of supporting Saints !!

Sanguin added 11:14 - Dec 12
Sell this summer? We need to sell in January to fund a new central defender!

SanMarco added 11:18 - Dec 12
Good article. We have to accept that we are not going to trim all the deadwood at once. Yes most of us would like rid of more CBs but it aint going to happen. My one disagreement is Long. We can't continue with attackers who dont score. If him and Redmond play we are relying on MFs to score. The centrsl thrust of the article is that we have to be pragmatic to free up space and wages. Obviously there is a point about the fees we can get for poor players but the status quo means relegation.

It will be interesting to see if he does bring Boufal or Carillo back.

bigrob68 added 11:25 - Dec 12
If we got 10 million for JWP it would go down in history as the biggest scam of all time, he is 2 million tops, slow, can't tackle and can't score.

sledger added 11:34 - Dec 12
great post and wow when you look through the dead wood accumalated you wonder how weve allowed this to happen,dont think we will be waiting till the summer the cull will start in january

Cjay80 added 11:50 - Dec 12
I would try to move on Rose, Target, Yoshida, Davis, Long, Forster, Clasie, Boufal. Sad as some of these have been excellent in the past but it's about looking for the future. I'd also be bringing back McQueen, Sims and Hesketh for some young spritely passion and pace. Not sure about Reed, I have a lot of time for him but opportunities will be limited in his position.

SaintBen added 11:58 - Dec 12
SaintMark makes a good point, we can only sell these players if clubs come in and bid for them - The winter window is notoriously difficult to try and prise players away, so that does go in our favour that we'll be actively open to getting them off the books, and alot of clubs will just be looking for 'fresh faces'... I would suggest that we'll probably look to bring loans in for the remainder of the season (especially with the threat of relegation hanging over our heads!) - I'd like to see the likes of Cahill, Lallana and a Target Man brought in on loan once wages are freed up.. I think those 3 areas would transform our defence, creativity and cater for the need for attacking focal point we've been crying out for since Pelle was sold.

mikesaint added 12:25 - Dec 12
There is a lot of deadwood in the Saints squad that need getting rid of in Janurary. I would start with JWP, Forster, Austin, Target, Yoshida, Davis, Stephens, Clasie, Reed, Vestegaard and Elyounoussi. I would also try and get Boufal and Carillo back.

I_would added 12:46 - Dec 12
Well constructed article Nick and pretty much agree with moving on deadwood to free up wages. However as some others have said the players mentioned have not exactly covered themselves in glory on the pitch and other clubs will know that they can drive an incredibly hard bargain in January. Who is going to want to pay more that 10k pw for Boufal for instance?
I think it's compounding our problems by giving these players away in Jan as it's the wrong window for a mass clear out. We ought to borrow the money to buy, or loan in, a center back and a goalscorer, get all our loanees back and get the best out of everybody until the end of the season. You never know some of them might come good and they'll be worth more then anyway.

Colburn added 13:26 - Dec 12
I struggle to see futures at the club for Forster, Rose, Targett, JWP, Davis (great servant but age against him), Austin, Clasie and Long. I can see Long staying as he can play high press but Charlie can’t.. I would keep Gabbiadini, he has not had a proper run in the team for ages but clearly has some class. Form is temporary. JWP has not developed and lacks too many vital qualities for this level. We don’t need 3 left backs and for me, McQueen looked better than Targett when given the chance. Targett could still go to Fulham and Davo back to Ibrox as Nick says. I don’t agree with culling Stephens as he is a good footballer who needs the right coach. I like Bednarek, he will come good I’m sure, future captain material, a potential leader. Bring back the loanees Reed, Hesketh and Sims and let Ralph decide on them. I actually rate all 3 of them and Nick, Reed has developed versatility to his game and can play in several midfield positions now. Elyounoussi will be decent once he has fully settled and adjusted, it takes some players a season to do this. If we move on the aforementioned 8, bring back the loanees and bring in 3 fresh faces, a centre back, a striker and an attacking midfielder, we’ll be ok! And Nick, Romue should stay, wasn’t long ago he was player of the season and it wasn’t a bad season.. I can’t see Hoedt and Vestergaard playing together in a back 4, no pace, turning circles scare me.. So I’ll be surprised if they are both here come next August. Finally, I have to say I’ve been impressed with Hasenhuttl so far, and feel positive about our chances under him, maybe we have the right fit now.

NewburySaint added 13:29 - Dec 12
I think Ralph the gaffer was being diplomatic & what he really meant was that he is happy with the number of players we have, just not the quality of most!

Cannot disagree with that list of players to try and sell, and would probably add a couple more as well in time (Targett for instance) but sometimes you need to have bodies even if they aren't that good.

Saintmapa added 14:59 - Dec 12
I’d sell Romeu, Cedric, Gabbi, Yoshida Forster and Austin. Then I would try to buy Clyne back and if there is one good pacy centre back, that would fit and recall Carillo and reed.

underweststand added 17:06 - Dec 12
Looking at your selection (Nick) and everyone else's ideas, we might just as well put all the names in a hat, or let them all draw a short straw - the result would be the same.

As for the goalies...Forster is getting £60K a week but hasn't played for a year (!)
(shock/horror...that's £3 million we won't see again)...Lewis is probably a better choice than Rose (who isn't a bad player either)... and Gunn hasn't seen any Prem. action yet.

The "misfits " we have are an inheritance from several previous managers, all of whom played different formations ...but none of them seems right for the current situation.
Yoshida and Davis came whilst Adkins was still in charge. Clasie is last man standing from Koeman's time and Boufal arrived on Puel's watch, butsisn't a team player.. Redmond came at the same time but ended up playing all over the place (I recall him as a left winger with Norwich) and he had a torrrid time last season, however, he'd be one of the first names on my team sheet this year. Managers seem to like Cedric, but fans don't . Jack Stephens looks the best bet to keep, whilst Hoedt and Vestergaard both need a shake-up as it would be too costly to get rid of them at the moment.

As for the loanees....get Reed and Hesketh back and give them some game time to find out if they are worth the effort. At 23+ they can'r expect to stay with Saints and hope to sit on the bench occasionally, they need to be playing every week.

IMHO the same goes for Ward-Prowse (I kmow, I know) no-one seems to like him-do they but whenever he got a game it was ususally as a stand-in for someone else and he was forced to play DM. AM, even as RB on one occasion. I really don't know his best position but he was worthy of his one England cap and was outstanding as the England U23 captain. I still think HCDAJFU - if we find his best position.

The only striker who is worth his place id Ings ..when is he going to be fit, btw ?
One thing is for sure, when RH brings in some of his favourites we will be really overloaded ...in all departments.

aceofthebase added 17:28 - Dec 12
1st onthe sell list must be Cedric

schatfield added 21:39 - Dec 12
I will be daring and say out goes Alex McCarthy, in come Gunn as number 1, and Forster as back up purely cos I cant see anyone else taking on his massive wages, so we may as well use for back up

I await the down arrows!

bstokesaint added 08:57 - Dec 13
Drop last season’s player of the season for an untested keeper! Not sure if “daring” is the right phrase :) I haven’t got time to list all of the deadwood. All I would say is that sometimes it’s harder determining who the decent players are when collectively we’re so bad! Centre of defence is our biggest issue. I still maintain Yoshida is our most dependable player in that position.

sidsaint added 09:05 - Dec 13
I'm not sure we get back Carillo and Boufal if they are on season long contracts. I would like to know if Ralph thinks they would fit into his style of playing? I would also like to think he can get a couple of players that he knows from the Bundesleague. However our perilous position at the foot of the prem makes it difficult to transfer in or out.

LordDZLucan added 09:40 - Dec 13
So looking at your analysis in another way 10 players are going to have to be sold in order to retrospectively fund the signing of the 2 donkeys, Hoedt and Vestergaard. That sort of sums up where it's all gone wrong!

warrens76 added 09:56 - Dec 13
Sell Redmond bring back Boufal, whatever stats can be pointed at the best four goals in the last three years came from Boufal plus Hjojberg that seems a remarkable coincidence..

Redmond and JWP are media darlings NOT great players and would bring £35 million...sell Vest or Hoedt as well and Cedric who cannot cross an important part of a wing backs game is it not.

Bring in a total of £75 million plus add £35 million which due to our continued meanest nett spend in the PL leaves us a two year FFP 'overspend' window.

Bring 5 absolute quality players in utilizing transfer funds for the young uns and freeing up of ELEVEN wages for the class oldies.

The academy needs to go back to its roots and link with the first team which ended when MoPo left, supplying us in 3 years time with at least one quality output a year.

SanMarco added 15:49 - Dec 13
Redmond and JWP £35 million warrens76? You really think Redmond is worth £34 million?

underweststand added 19:23 - Dec 13
A point to.. warrens 76 .... and others.
I wish that Mauricio Pochettino would stop crediting himself with the development of our Academy lads during his short stay. A false rumour that has rubbed off on many journalists and some Saints followers.

When MP took over in January 2013...Adam Lallana had been an established member of the squad for a couple of seasons and Luke Shaw had played over a dozen games under Nigel Adkins' tutelage (a no-brainer when you consider Danny Fox's form at the time) and JWP (who had debuted in the first game that season) scarcely got a look-in during the rest of his first season with MP, and little more to speak of...even in his second.

In MP's second (and last) season, Calum Chambers was put into the RB spot when Clyne was out for a prolonged period, only to lose the spot when Clyne returned. This also happened again later that season. There is little more evidence to show that Pochettino helped to further develop the Academy that he claimed to admire so much.

Ronald Koeman who bought 8 players after he arrived ...did even less to encourage the Academy players during his time, but that's another chapter.

SaintBrock added 19:41 - Dec 14
We need to keep eleven just to fulfil our fixtures obligations.

SaintBrock added 19:49 - Dec 14
Try this the other way around, Nick. people should write their lists of who we should keep...

Here goes, Macarthy, Lemina, Boufal

There, that's me done!

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Letters from Wiltshire #09 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #08 by wessex_exile
Lots of discussion this week on football forums, including here, on two subjects – the petition to lobby parliament to allow limited numbers of supporters back into football grounds, and of course the return of that old chestnut from Man City Chief Executive Ferran Soriano, introducing Premier League ‘B’ teams into the EFL. First off, I don’t mind admitting I’ve signed the petition ( https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552036 ), as have 192,779 others at the time of writing, though I don’t actually think it’ll make any difference. I can completely understand why some do not think this is a good idea, as second-wave spikes of coronavirus infection pop up all over the country (mainly because – let’s face it – some people are dicks and can’t be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet). But to me, the two go hand in hand (not dicks and toilets) – whilst football clubs throughout the country struggle financially without spectators, we are always going to be under threat of this sort of ‘B’ team nonsense as a condition of financial support from the Premier League fat cats. They got their way in 2016 with the EFL trophy, who’s to say they won’t again when the financial squeeze really starts to tighten its grip without paying customers through the turnstiles? Robbie has featured prominently in this debate in recent weeks, and looks like he will again on Sky tomorrow if this tweet from Sophy Ridge is anything to go by -
Letters from Wiltshire #07 by wessex_exile

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