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Saints Can Start To Sell In The Summer
Wednesday, 26th Feb 2020 10:00

Saints will be looking to sell at least five players in the summer, but before social media is awash with fans accusations of being a selling club, this is a good thing as we may finally be able to get rid of some of the overpaid players out on loan.

Some Saints supporters froth at the moth with accusations of the club selling it's best players etc, in truth most of those who left between the summer of 2014 and January 2018 when Virgil Van Dijk left for Liverpool the club tried to keep but their hand was forced by the players themselves who made it quite clear that they wanted to move and truthfully who can blame them given the wages they would receive at the so called big clubs plus the chance for glory.

Of course some left in the right way and others showed a lack of finesse and class in the way they did things, I'm not going to drag over old ground you all know which players were which.

But I said back in 2014 this was the only way that the club could compete with the Big Six, we can't match their earning power so we have to try and succeed on our own terms and that means buying in and selling on, we do not have the means to spend on transfers year in year out to buy players without doing this.

I also said in 2014 that this only works as long as we keep replacing players with ones that are or have the potential to be as good and this is a far from easy task and one that offers no guarantees.

We have to control the buying and selling and try and sell when it is right for us, but as I said above that is not always something we can do.

But then again spending big has no guarantees as West Ham are finding out this season as did Fulham last year and indeed Aston Villa this, even the big clubs can spend out but not get the return, Spurs have spent £141 million this season, Man Utd £192 million and Arsenal £130 million all three are not that far ahead of us, likewise Everton who have changed manager yet again something they have done every calendar year since they poached Ronald Koeman from us in 2016, they have spent around £120 million this season alone and they are only a point above us.

This shows that splashing the cash has just as big a risk of failure as our chosen path of living within our means.

That path is not a lack of ambition but actually the opposite, it shows that we have goals that are realistic and achievable, it shows that we are not willing to throw everything at one big shot of glory and that when that is done the owner is content to walk away having satisfied his own ego without a care what happens next to the club he once told the fans was now embedded in his soul etc etc

In football it really isn't better to live one day as a lion and then the rest meekly in the jungle that is the lower leagues.

So we truly have a business model, one that could see us succeed, but if we did fail would not leave us bankrupt, people are very content to remember Rupert Lowe and spit on the pavement, but they barely mention Michael Wilde a man who came in with big promises, signed players on big wages and then turned out not to have a pot to p*ss in at the level he had boasted, that drove the club into administration and nearly oblivion nothing or no one else.

As mentioned earlier the last two seasons have been tough not because we haven't spent money, but because we have spent it badly and sadly we do not have the resources to be able to waste £40 million a season on transfers and then just buy again to replace them.

Hence we have over half a team out on loan, they have a combined transfer value paid of around £90 million and i'm not including Yoshida, Cedric or any of our home grown players like Harrison Reed here.

All of these players have not kicked a ball for Saints this season and some for much of last, the issue is not that we haven't spent money, it's that we have spent it badly and more to the point not been able to sell and recoup some of the transfer money to reinvest.

We haven't been able to sell them because of their wages, but now that can change as most are getting within 1 or 2 years from the end of their contract and we can negotiate.

Players in the main are not that keen on going out of contract as it leaves them with an uncertain future, suffer a long term injury in the final months of your deal and you are in trouble, you could spent a year out and without a club and that also means no physio's etc to aid your recovery.

So now some are within a year of the contract ending they are willing to take a drop in wages and get pay off's to leave. ie if a player is leaving and taking a drop in wages of £30 k a week ie £1.5 million a year, we might be willing to offer him £1 million to go and that will enable us to sell him at £10 million, so any transfer fee received might be reduced by a pay off amount.

Sadly although we have paid £90 million for these players we are highly unlikely to receive the same as we paid for them, s lets take a look at what we could get back in.

Mario Lemina contract ends 2022 likely sale value £10 million

Wesley Hoedt 2022 £10 million

Mo Elyounoussi 2023 £11 million

Fraser Forster 2022 £10 million

Guido Carrillo 2021 £10 million'

That is the big five out on loan and we could rake in around £50 million if we could get them all of the books, but it is not just about transfer fees it is also about wages, of course we will have got some loan fees for them but most will not be about loan fees but reducing the wage bill, at a conservative estimate we are paying £300 k a week in wages for those, that.s £15 million a year and we will be lucky to rake in half of that from the clubs they are loaned out to.

So the job this summer will be to try and shift at least some of them so we have not only money to spend, but the cash to pay wages.

This is why we are not able to sell big, we have £90 million out there in players who are not playing for us and more to the point we are probably still having to pay around £7.5 million in wages for them not to kick a ball.

But there are other players on the books who are not playing big parts anymore and we could now sell, Oriol Romeu is approaching the last year of his deal and we could rake in £10 million for him.

Jannik Vestergaard has two years left and we could get £12 million for him, Sofiane Boufal has a year left and to be blunt 2 assists in the Premier League is not a great return for our money, we will look to sell him this summer and that could net £10 million.

This shows how bloated our squad is, we have 8 players all full internationals on big money who are not either playing for us or are fringe players this season. That's another £7 million in wages.

If my figures are correct we are paying a net figure in wages for 8 players who are not first team regulars of around £15 million or to put in another way over 10% of our total income.

This shows the real story of why Saints have had to be careful with the money, the policy of sell to buy is an enforced one and not completely by choice.

So this summer will be vital, at best we could rake in around £80 million in transfer fees and get £22 million in wages off the books, if we could do that it would take some of the shackles off.

But the likelihood is we will maybe rake in half of that amount, but that is still a start, Ralph Hasenhuttl likes to work with a compact squad and in truth he has the core of a good squad here, the addition of a central defender and a right back will give us what we need, although we might also look at other areas depending on who goes out and how much money comes in.

There has been much negativity in the fan base and it cannot be denied that there has had to be a period of austerity around the club.

But those responsible for those poor buys have gone and a new regime in place and they have to be given the chance to show they can implement the Southampton Way and succeed in doing so.

Whether it's splashing the cash or doing it our way there are no guarantees, but if we can finish in the top 10 this season we will be well on the road to recovery, indeed that would make it 5 top 10 finishes out of the last 7 years and that is a great record for a club of our size.

Sometimes we have to look at ourselves as others see us, they see us as a well run club who produce good players, that's only scratching the surface, but in many respects it is true.

The Southampton Way is what it is not out of choice but necessity, if you want a club that spends £100 million in transfers every year, then this is probably not the club for you, at least not at the moment, there is an armchair waiting for you with a choice of teams on the Sky Go App that will satisfy that craving.

Saints as a club have ambition, but the ambition is to compete on our own terms, make sure that we always live to fight another day and keep fighting season in season out and hopefully keep getting better and stronger so that although we can perhaps never be one of the big six, we can be that club tucked in behind with a shout at success.

Photo: Action Images



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ExiledSupporter added 12:36 - Feb 26
There's much here that I must necessarily accept as true however much I don't like it; for instance I would rather prefer that some of these surplus to requirements players might yet find a role with us and resurrect their careers. After all some of them came here at a dreadful time, under some very poor managers and were given little opportunity to prove their worth.

However, realistically they should all go, I have to accept that!

But I do continue to think that the much feted 'Southampton Way' has become considerably less credible as a mode of operation.

It depends too heavily on the good judgement of senior management in a) identifying promising/good replacement players b) fitting round pegs into round holes ie. playing new recruits in their best positions and c) selecting and retaining good managers for longer than a season or so.

In some ways the latter is the most important issue of all. I hope we can retain RH for longer than his three immediate predecessors, but I doubt it. Why... because the Saints Way is predicated on an assumption that at best our success will be defined as "not getting relegated and perhaps having a cup run"

If you assume that our best two managers since we returned to the PL were Pochettino and Koeman we were unable to retain them because we patently had such limited ambition that they could not see much of a future for themselves and became disaffected and open to approaches from more affluent clubs.

Losing a manager who is good quality (like RH for instance) is far more damaging to the operation of a club like ourselves than losing a top player. The disruption is immense as managerial turnover rapidly effects style of play, selection, training methods, often wholesale change in backroom staff, departure of players who previously fitted our style and suddenly don't fit a changed set of tactics etc.

I have serious doubts that we are good at selecting replacement managers, possibly also at recruiting directors of football, coaching staff and scouts...on the basis of previous experience.

But attracting and retaining high quality management and staff requires not just competitive salaries, but also palpable ambition which is sorely missing from the Saints Way.

Perhaps Ralf will be an exception and be happy to continue in at best the upper middle reaches of the league, but if he has anything about him, I suspect he will be whisked away from us by other clubs who are able to offer him the prospect of more achievable ambition than we can seriously offer
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legod7 added 13:09 - Feb 26
“But those responsible for those poor buys have gone and a new regime in place and they have to be given the chance to show they can implement the Southampton Way and succeed in doing so.”..............It’s ok saying those responsible have gone,but what about the ones that were signed by Reed & Wilson. McCarthy,Gunn,Bednarek,Bertrand,Hojbjerg,Armstrong ,Redmond Ings et al. How does anyone really know if Ralph & Crocker can sign anyone better. The summer signings by Ralph weren’t that successful . Is Adams really Premier League quality.Djenepo is hit and miss. The less said about Danso the better.So the scouting must improve a heck of a lot before we make the same mistakes as we did previously.
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SaintNick added 14:04 - Feb 26
Exile, good judgement is needed whether you are spending money or not as Everton and West Ham have shown.

Le god who was making the summer signings is a little unclear, Reed had gone as had Krueger so we didn't have the full process in place
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LordDZLucan added 14:34 - Feb 26
The Southampton Way can be modelled on another club out there which has very similar metrics to us such as Turnover and Wages. That club also has a stadium that is a carbon copy of ours although with an inferior finish! Yes, I am talking about Leicester. What do Leicester do that we don't. They make sure that they hang on to their top performers by paying the same wages that top clubs would pay. They also make sure they get their top transfer targets again by paying the wages. Yes, there are a couple of exceptions, namely Mahrez and Maguire, but they made sure they got top dollar for each of those by having them tied in to long term contracts. Our top performers invariably leave because we won't match the wages being offered elsewhere. That policy is folly. It's cheaper in the long run to pay our battle hardened Premier League players the going rate than to sell them and use the cash to take a punt on an inexperienced foreign import at lower, but still substantial, wages. To sum up we must change the Southampton Way to the Leicester Way and make sure that we keep the current top performers at the club i.e. Ings, Ward-Prowse, Bertrand, Stephens, McCarthy, Redmond, Armstrong etc.. We don't a revolution in the playing staff every time we're moderately successful and our players attract interest from other clubs which is how I would describe the current Southampton Way.
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BoondockSaint added 15:18 - Feb 26
Lo
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BoondockSaint added 15:22 - Feb 26
LordDZLucan I regret that I can only click the "^" once!

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d_ember added 16:09 - Feb 26
@ExiledSupporter, your counter analysis started off well, however to suggest we could keep hold of Poch and Koeman when the clubs offerring CL football and a huge wage increase came calling is a little rich.

Also that judging us by avoiding relegation and a Cup run yelps of the Lowe days! I think we have progressed a little and the response of the fans to the previous seasons of avoiding relegation is testament to that. I think this piece is balanced to suggest we should be chasing the big boys and be as hard on their heels as our resources allow us to be, and when a season like this one comes along as it did under Koeman, be there to take advantage and get one of the "Prize places". Also a realistic entry point for us is through the cup and despite the recent result we preoved we can give the very best in this league a run for their money and maybe that 10% chance will fall our way at the right time!
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Jesus_02 added 11:00 - Feb 27
OK... The Leicester comparison is perhaps a poor one. They believe they are a big club having to operate on lower resources. While even when the club has changed CEOs a number of times we still believe that we a a small club punching above its weight. It’s this culture that Cortes tried to change.

Nick is off course correct in that we cant just waste £40. But if you look at the figure he has stated it’s exactly what we have done. Not by being over ambitious but by being over cautious. I think maybe nick is also being a bit optimistic with what we might get for players. The 2 we have at Celtic might be right but I can’t see us getting anything for Carillio and Galatasray are offering 8m euro for Lamina.

Personally I think Football is more suited to fewer but bigger risks rather than multiple medium size risks that leave us with average players on big wages that are very difficult to offload. Off the field we seem to have adopted tactics similar to Puels on field tactics... basically boring.

As a club we need to attract young supporters rather than rely on inherited affiliations. Hopefully in the future we are more aggressive of the field in the same way as we have been on it.
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Jesus_02 added 11:00 - Feb 27
OK... The Leicester comparison is perhaps a poor one. They believe they are a big club having to operate on lower resources. While even when the club has changed CEOs a number of times we still believe that we a a small club punching above its weight. It’s this culture that Cortes tried to change.

Nick is off course correct in that we cant just waste £40. But if you look at the figure he has stated it’s exactly what we have done. Not by being over ambitious but by being over cautious. I think maybe nick is also being a bit optimistic with what we might get for players. The 2 we have at Celtic might be right but I can’t see us getting anything for Carillio and Galatasray are offering 8m euro for Lamina.

Personally I think Football is more suited to fewer but bigger risks rather than multiple medium size risks that leave us with average players on big wages that are very difficult to offload. Off the field we seem to have adopted tactics similar to Puels on field tactics... basically boring.

As a club we need to attract young supporters rather than rely on inherited affiliations. Hopefully in the future we are more aggressive of the field in the same way as we have been on it.
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Jesus_02 added 11:18 - Feb 27
Lemina-£7/8m or new loan
Hoedt - £5/6m
Elyounoussi - £8m
Forster - £10m
Carrillo - Free (we will be lucky if we can offload him TBH)

£30-35m at the most
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highfield49 added 12:01 - Feb 27
The arguments and counter arguments on the right and wrong strategies in the transfer market only go to show that it's virtually impossible to get it right most of the time. Forster is an example of a player signed on a high earning, long term contract who, for whatever reasons, went into meltdown but appears to have recovered decent form on his loan to Celtic. Would it be sensible to get him back and play him in goal next season or try to cash in on his current form and recoup a few £m? Is the intensity of top flight English matches too much for him to handle every week?
Remember, not too many months ago, when Ings was regarded by some as a waste of £18m or whatever because he was always on the treatment bench? I suspect Adams is being written off too soon by some supporters because he hasn't scored in his short forays from the bench. Hopefully he will get more game time once we get past the 40 point mark and allow us to make a better qualified assessment of his worth. My own view is that he may well be a star in the making based mostly on two top class goal assists, most recently the pass into space for Armstrong against Villa. On the other hand he may be on his way to Leeds or wherever in a few weeks.
Nick's list of potential departures is reasonable given that we need to move players on but whereas I felt last summer that Armstrong wasn't going to be able to raise his game sufficiently at this level he now looks like an almost automatic name on the team sheet. Just as well that I have nothing to do with player recruitment because hindsight isn't one of the factors available to those that make the calls.
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underweststand added 14:46 - Feb 27
There are a whole list of explanations / excuses / complaints here, and some of them hold water, but there's no easy answer. As a fan of over 60 years standing, I can confirm that the number of "record signings " in that time who DAJFU could be counted on the fingers of one hand, and the list of others is longer than anyone can rememeber.

The biggest problem is that players who show up well in a good team (especially in Europe) rarely fit in well when asked to play in a different position / formation and may have a language/ culture problem in the UK. Paying huge fees to other clubs and then paying the player a huge salary is no guarantee of success. Far from it.

Gaston Ramirez (another of Cortese's failures) when asked why he joined Saints (trotted out the usual) " I've always wanted to play in the Prem", but then added ." I couldn't believe the money they were offering me ". Rumour had it ..65K/ week. and the later catastrophic signing of Dany Osvaldo was just as bad and cost us dearly to get rid of.

Each of the disasterous signings that followed had some similarity in one way or another.
Elyounoussi was the star player in a top Swiss team and had good games v. Man City in CL and Basel saw us coming when we wanted to buy him. Celtic is about his true level.
Forster may be capable of Prem football, but clearly " his heart" never really left Celtic.

Vestergaard physique is more impressive than his footballing skill and Prem forwards run rings around him, and Carrillo was a panic buy to help salvage Pellegrino's reputation.
Borussia and Monaco must have laughed all the way to the bank after we bought them.
We lost too many good players (after Koeman) and never found capable replacements.

We've re-discovered success in the latest Academy crop, and it was interesting to note we had 5 Academy graduates in last Saturdays squad. The other " summer transfer problems" will be what will Ralph do about those from the last U23 group who have "failed to make the grade" so far; Gallagher and Targett have already gone, but the futures of Harry Reed, Jake hesketh, Josh Sims, Alfie Jones,Tom O'Connor, Callum Slattery and the long time injured Sam McQueen who still have "live contracts", will need to
" show-up " soon - if their long-term futures are to be with Saints.

We must "take a hit" on transfer fees, but the salary savings will be the best outcome.



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Jesus_02 added 15:21 - Feb 27
Underweaststand. “another one of Corteses mistakes” You have literally named them both... and they add up to £27m. and before someone mentions Forren he was returned for about the same as we paid for him. IF and it’s a big IF we manage to sell the players mentioned for the sums mentioned we are still talking at about £50m loss.

Yes spending big doesn’t guarantee success but quality seldom comes cheap. We paid 20m for Carrillo and after failing heat he has failed on loan too. Osvaldo was a £15m risk and i’m pretty sure it was Potch’s decision as he had worked with him before. The guy was clearly talented and pitch was quoted as saying he could handle his temperament.

There is no guarantee that players will work out. Forster just doesn’t work at Saints . But he is good and we will be able to move him on. Carrillo however ...🙄
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underweststand added 20:26 - Feb 27
to "jesus 02"...those two mistakes you likely brush off cost Saints more than the "mere £27 mil."in transfer fees . Both had 4 year contracts at high salaries and cost almost as much again when the club had to honour their contracts and buy them out.

The other "mistakes " may not have been quite so financially damaging but there was Emmanauel Mayuka (at £4 million + salary) and perhaps you don't want to count Gazzaniga (only £2 million on a 5 year contract) and we only got back £2 million of the £4 million we paid out for Forren after he returned to his old club..I can't recall who wa sholding the purse strings when we bought Gardos (at £6 million + salary) but that goes down as a pretty poor deal also.

I am on record as praising Nicola Cortese for his administrative / re-organsing abilities after the bankruptcy , where he dis a great job to get the club back on its feet , but also borrowed the money for his "big buys" . On his own admission Cortese knew little about the Englsih football world and was "conned " by his foreign contacts into making the Ramirez/Osvaldo deals whilst refusing to pay out £2 million to keep Michail Antonio at the club after his very successful loan, and JPT final.

YES I agree ..it probably was Poch's decision to buy Osvaldo (but I's sure you won't see a chapter on that in his eventual memoirs). Cortese was at fault for allowing the sale, because when I employed someone I'd look at his CV first, and anyone with Osvaldo's disciplinary record would have been a warning sign from Day 1. (ask his one time team mate Jose Fonte)

The bulk of the squad(s) that got us from L1 to the Prem. were mostly British and cost a total of (approx.£5 million) whereas the "loan fees for Guly were almost £1 million and the sum total of the costs involved with Ramirez and Osvaldo (are quoted above.)

I saw a SKY interview with Alan Pardew - the year after he was sacked - where he said .....
" Cortese doubted if it was a sensible decision to pay out £1 million for a 27 y.o striker whose name was" ....Rickie Lambert. Good footballing judgement?... I think not.

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Jesus_02 added 08:00 - Feb 28
Pardew V Cortese ... I think i know who did more for Saints. Also condemning him for backing Potch and also for doubting but backing Pardew is a massive double standard. Cortese studied german football system which is where our game is going with FFP. He also ensured that there was always an assistant that was familiar with the english game. This is why les was involved .. Les was a pretty big deal @ L1 but should have probably gone with Adkins when we got to the Prem. We have struggled in that area for a while TBH.
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underweststand added 09:06 - Feb 28
to ..jesus_02...
I think we agree on more than we disagree, but for all the good Cortese did in establishing good admin., he should have kept out of the footballing side of things.
I can't believe that Les Reed was responsible for bringing Ramirez, Mayuka and Osvaldo to the club(?) although I don't agree with your statement that "quality doesn't come cheap" becasue in our case it's the opposite. (Historically) the likes of Pahars, Beattie and Ostenstad, Marsden, Tessem, Fonte, Lambert and Schneiderlin all cost +/- £1 million and since 2012 Steven Davis, Yoshida and Cork all cost very low fees and DAJFU over time.

By recent standards; Rodrigues, Pelle, Mane, Bertrand surely justified fees that ONLY came in around £10 million, but unfortunately almost all of the " record signings " we've made in the last 5 years have "flopped " big time ..(with obvious exception of Dany ings).

A quick look at our list of alltime long-serving players shows the top ten names are all nearly players who - even in "old money "- cost next to nothing. Our greatest successes have over a long period of time been " home grown".
Nowadays almost every player we look at costs minimum £15 -20 million, and come with no guarantes of anything. In times where teenage talents are being quoted at £100 mill. we must look even closer to our youth policy where we can live with salaries and not have to pay out £30-40 million even before salaries are agreed and contracts are signed.

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