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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