Ralph Hasenhuttl Explains His Late January Transfer Decisions
Friday, 5th Feb 2021 10:32
There was some criticism for the manager from sections of the Saints support for the decision to let three squad players move on loan in the final days, leaving the squad threadbare for the trip to Manchester United, but Ralph has explained the reasoning behind it.
On the face of it, with an injury list as long as his arm, it seemed strange that Ralph Hasenhuttl should let Yan Valery, Jake Vokins and Shane Long move out on loan, all had seen action in the previous week and the injury list had just got worse after the Villa game.
But Ralph Hasenhuttl had a couple of issues to wrestle with before making his decision, the first football wise and the second financial.
The Shane Long departure was perhaps the easiest to make and a no brainer, the Irish striker was playing a part in the season and if he went needed replacing, the decision to let him go relied on a replacement coming in, Bournemouth were keen on Long and the striker was keen to go, he wanted to play football not just take a wage.
"He wants to play, it’s the same with Yan Valery," explained Hasenhuttl when asked about Shane Long, "Some players, they didn’t play enough. That’s the reason why they tried to find another opportunity.
“I know that I’m not full of players and it seems stupid that you let them go but I think Long deserved to get this chance because he did so much for this club."
Ralph Hasenhuttl is right Shane Long did deserve the chance to be treated with respect by Southampton Football Club and he deserves to be treated with respect by Saints supporters.
Most do recognise the contribution that Long made to the club especially in his first three seasons when he was a key part of the team that has three straight top 8 finishes, two European campaigns and got to the League Cup Final.
But some only saw goals scored and not what he did off the ball and some of the comments I see about Long from a minority on social media show no appreciation for his service in 7 seasons at the club,
Initially it looked like Josh King might arrive in a type of swap deal for Long, but Ralph was not keen on the player, but he was more enamoured of Minamino from Liverpool, although the financial workings of this move have not been revealed, the money that Saints get from Bournemouth will not cover the entire cost of the payment to Liverpool.
This deal was a progressive one both financially and in terms of getting in a younger player who is highly rated by Liverpool who although happy to loan him would not insert a permanent transfer clause as they see this move as merely getting him Premier league experience and a key part of their squad next season.
But the departure of Yan Valery & Jake Vokins was a little more controversial and Ralph took a more long term view of those deals.
Yes he needed them for the trip to Manchester United, perhaps even the next game against Newcastle, but after that with players coming back from injury he had to look at whether he would use them after that.
Vokins had played just once in the Premier League and he had been substituted after 66 minutes and Valery had played one game plus his 2 late sub appearances.
Neither had had the chance to contribute much during the first 20 games of the season and with injuries coming back, they would probably not get much opportunity in the second half of the season.
The manager knew they needed game time if they were to force their way into the reckoning going forward and being full backs, a specialist position they would not get it at St Mary's.
Hasenhuttl doesn't feel that Saints have a problem at full-back - even without their newly-departed youngsters.
"We are not so bad in that position as we have Will Ferry as an alternative on the bench if we need to,"
“It looks like Jannik [Vestergaard] and [Mohammed] Salisu are coming back as soon as one week or two weeks. This is important as we will then have more options in the back four and Kyle-Walker Peters' is not a big injury. "
In truth if the transfer window was due to end a week later, there would not have been a problem, he would have used Valery at Old Trafford, Vokins would have been on the bench and they would have then departed as the squad returned to somewhere approaching full strength.
But the fact that neither had played much of a part until injuries had really kicked in was telling the manager something, and that for varying reasons, he did not feel confident in using either unless it was an emergency.
Jake Vokins name has been embroiled in the righteous indignation that some supporters have used when venting their spleen on social media, but truth is he would not have started at Old Trafford.
Yan Valery would have, so there was a dilemma there, the manager had to take a long term view and that was if Valery is to get his confidence back he needed to go on loan as did Vokins, there was no point in keeping them for one game and then letting them drop to the fringes again.
The right decision was to loan them out, it was only the timing that was flawed, but this was a one game thing, they both needed to play the last 20 games of the season somewhere and that was not going to be Saints just on the pecking order at the club.
So from footballing terms it was right to let them go and also from a financial perspective, those with the loudest voices about a lack of ambition from Saints are also the ones that seem oblivious to the financial crisis that football clubs including Saints are in.
Saints are losing money at a rate of £3 million a month and they are perhaps one of the lowest losses in the Premier League.
A look at the transfer listings of Premier League clubs in January saw only 21 incoming signings, mostly loan deals, West Brom were responsible for 5 of the signings, almost a quarter of the total.
On the other hand 100 players departed from Premier League squads, again mostly fringe players off to lower league clubs.
But the message was clear, all clubs were trying to slash overheads from a Saints perspective and discounting the Long departure and those out on loan in the first half of the season, Saints saw 4 players leave, 3 on loan and one permanently, Vokins having signed a four year deal at the start of the season would have been the highest earner.
I would hazard a guess that those four players earn around £50,000 a week between them, assuming that we have loaned them out purely for their wages to be paid and no loan fee involved, we have shaved £200k off the £3 million a month we are currently losing.
It doesn't sound much but it reduces the losses and every other club is in the same boat, it is not a lack of ambition, a year ago football was assuming that by the start of this season things would be back to normal, fans would be back in the grounds in numbers and financially it would be back to approaching the normal level.
This is not the case and all clubs have a void they need to fill, even Liverpool and Manchester United had to trim their rosters to save money.
Many like to blame our owner Jisheng Gao, but as I said this is a football thing, hence Tottenham Hotspur have borrowed heavily in the summer, their billionaire owner is not using his own funds to plug the gap and that is the situation at all clubs.
So this is the reasoning behind Jake Vokins and Yan Valery leaving, sometimes you have to take a long term approach and this was one of those times, as with all football transfer decisions only time will give us the answer whether this was the right thing to do or not, but what we should know is that Ralph Hasenhuttl weighed up all the pros and cons and has then taken what he sees as the best strategy for the club as a whole.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
Letters from Wiltshire #33 by wessex_exile
Today we face a trip to Crawley, not usually a venue that bears fruit for the U’s it has to be said. In nine visits we’ve only won once in the league, and once in the League Cup. Of course, we’ll all remember that League Cup victory, indeed many of us were probably there to see us progress through to 5th round and the dream fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford. All of our goal-scorers that night, Luke’s Norris and Gambin, and Cohen Bramall (okay, technically an O.G.), are no longer with us, so let’s hope at the very least that recent departee and subsequent returnee Frank Nouble can bag another like his late equaliser against Mansfield. Steve Ball commented during the week about how tight the league is at the moment, and he’s right that a couple of back to back victories would see us move significantly up the table away from danger – but we’ve got to win them first Steve – something we’ve failed to do since our 1-0 victory at Scunthorpe on December 8th.
Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
Fifty years ago yesterday, Colchester United of the 4th Division pulled off the greatest cup giant-killing ever, beating 1st Division Leeds United 3-2 at Layer Road. Watched by 16,000, and the Match of the Day cameras, Dick Graham’s U’s, a rag-tag band of mostly aging journeymen, defied the odds to defeat arguably the greatest club side in Europe at the time. “The greatest cup giant-killing ever” is a bold claim, and over the years various football magazines and websites have run their own polls of which was the greatest. Whilst that day at Layer Rd always features, as the years have gone by other feats fresher in the memory have been put forward as a candidate – we probably all remember Ronnie Radford’s screamer against Newcastle, Sutton’s exploits, or even Bradford City quite recently at Stamford Bridge – but these pale into insignificance when you pause to reflect on the Don Revie side that we beat that day. Sprake, Cooper, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Giles etc – all full internationals, all household names – the only one missing was Billy Bremner, and that was because he was injured. By comparison, all we had to offer was Ray Crawford – at his peak arguably on a par with some in the Leeds side, but that peak had been ten years earlier playing for Ipswich and England. Eleven heroes didn’t just try and hold out against Leeds United, they took the game to their illustrious opponents with such tenacity, grit and no small amount of flair, and before we knew it, the U’s were 3-0 in the lead. As legs tired, Leeds got back into the game with goals from Hunter and Giles, but we held firm – typified at the death by Graham Smith pulling off an impossible save to ensure the U’s achieved the greatest cup giant-killing ever!
Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
And so the dust settles on another transfer window closing, and despite (my) expectations that the possibility of incoming business was going to be remote, we have instead seen a veritable flurry of activity, with no less than three coming in. Big Frank Nouble, making a very welcome return on loan from Plymouth Argyle, of course needs no introduction. Neither really does feisty Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu, here on loan last season, and this time signed full-time from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Actually paying hard cash for someone did come as a surprise, presumably offset by the sale of Cohen Bramall to Lincoln for a similarly undisclosed fee. However, the fact that the Addicks have insisted on not only a sell-on clause, but a rarely used buy-back clause too, suggests (a) Wiredu’s signing fee probably wasn’t too high, and (b) Charlton are protecting those finances with these clauses. The last one, which would have been a complete surprise for me were it not for a contact leaking me the news earlier yesterday, is left-back Josh Doherty on loan from Crawley. Josh was only announced once outgoing left-back Bramall was confirmed, and presumably his loan is directly related to part-time fashion model, TV and radio celeb and former left-back Mark Wright signing for Crawley on a non-contract game-by-game basis in December. We have also released seven from the academy, Ollie Kensdale, Miquel Scarlett, Sammie McLeod, Michael Fernandes, Ollie Sims, Danny Collinge and Matt Weaire, and I’m sure we all wish them the best for the future.
Letters from Wiltshire #30 by wessex_exile
Friday night football – can’t beat it. Gives you that feelgood factor all weekend, sitting back to enjoy a stress-free Saturday afternoon watching others fail in your wake. Of course, you have to win first, which we’ve been struggling to do for a while now, so be prepared for the possibility of a miserable weekend just in case. We share this evening with Reading v AFC Bournemouth, albeit they kick-off an hour later than we do. In the real world, leaders of the UK’s five largest business groups have written to Boris demanding action on the substantial difficulties they are facing over Brexit bureaucracy, whilst French border authorities are reporting that two-thirds of lorries arriving from the UK are empty (i.e. no exports leaving the UK). Still, at least the NHS can enjoy their extra £350m per week…
Letters from Wiltshire #29 by wessex_exile
Looks like some around the world have started 2021 a bit cross. Never mind the attempted insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month, those normally laid-back Dutch have now been rioting for three nights running about the imposition of a night-time curfew to try and curb the spread of coronavirus. Farmers in Delhi have stormed through police lines and breached the Red Fort in protest against market reforms, and tragic Somalia has just passed the 30th anniversary of their ongoing civil war. In brighter news, President Biden has immediately begun dismantling and/or reversing some of Trump’s more contentious decisions, including rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, renewed funding for the World Health Organisation, revoking the ‘Muslim travel ban’, defunding the border wall, rescinding Trump’s report calling for a ‘more patriotic’ syllabus in schools, and overturning the ban on transgender people serving in the military.
[ Vote here ]