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Saints Announce Departure Of Bertrand, Sims And Hesketh.
Saturday, 5th Jun 2021 09:58

The club have announced those who will not be playing their football at Southampton FC next season with three on the list coming as no surprise but also eight players who now have to worry that their career in professional football may be over at an early age.

The list of those who will be leaving St Mary's is as follows.

Ryan Bertrand
Jake Hesketh
Josh Sims
David Agbontohoma
Lucas Defise
Pascal Kpohomouh
Kingsley Latham
Kameron Ledwidge
James Morris
Thomas O'Connor
Tommy Scott

The first three on the list will be very familiar to Saints supporters with the final names not so much and all of those last eight will be hoping that this does not mean the end of their full time footballing careers and that they will be able to find clubs for next season albeit lower down the footballing pyramid, but that won't be easy given the financial crisis hitting football due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Top of the list is the most familiar name not just to Saints fans but for all football supporters across the country, Ryan Bertrand needs no introduction having played almost 500 games across the board including a Champions League winners medal at Chelsea.

He arrived at St Mary's in the summer of 2014 initially on loan and then the deal was made permanent in the January of 2015 for £10 million, in his 7 seasons at the club he started 213 Premier League games plus another as sub scoring 7 goals, he also made another24 appearances plus 2 as sub in other competitions.

Looking back Bertrand has had a great career at the club including being a member of the 2017 League Cup Final team and his transfer fee looks a real bargain meaning that not only can he be considered one of the Saints greats, he could also be said to be one of the best transfer deals the club have made.

Turning 32 in August he is nearing the end of his career and no one can really blame him for wanting to get one last move both in financial terms and also perhaps in terms of glory if as expected he goes to one of the top six sides possibly as a squad player.

Good luck to Ryan bertrand and thanks for a great seven seasons at the club.

Nest to leave is Josh Sims and this will divide fans, but the truth is that after a great start back in November 2016 when in the first minute of his debut he crossed for Charlie Austin to score the only goal in the game.

But since then he has struggled to convince 4 managers of his worth to the team and in the 5 years since his debut he has only amassed 4 League starts for the club plus 16 as sub in the Premier League plus 4 starts and 3 as sub in other competitions and sadly no goals.

There were some landmark performances including the game against Everton, not least his through ball for Shane Long at Anfield in the League cup semi final in 2017 and also in a home win over Spurs in Ralph Hasenhuttl's first season, but the truth is these have been few and far between and looking back Sims career went downhill after Claude Puel left, the Frenchman appears to be the only manager who had faith in Sims, of his 27 appearances n total, almost half, 13 to be precise were in that debut season.

Since then he has spent a lot of time out on loan, Reading where he struggled and came back early , New York Red Bulls which seemed a strange one as it meant he was unable to play most of the 19/20 season and finally Doncaster this season where he seems to have found his level.

There will be some out there who will say he should have been offered a new contract, but at 24 he had not made the breakthrough at St Marys and although there have been some good games there were also ones where he failed to make an impact, I am sad to see Sims go, I truly hoped he would make a career at St Mary's, but the truth is his stats are nothing to write home about and if Nathan Redmond had played 26 games with the same stats he would get pelters.

Again good luck to Josh Sims, hoepfully he can now get his career back on track and if he returned to St Mary's as a Premier League player then no one would be more delighted than me.

Jake Hesketh joins Josh Sims as a player who looked to have a great future at St Mary's but for whom it didn't really work out, he made his debut in December 2014 as a sub in a home defeat to Manchester United and then started the game at Burnley a week later, but he left the field after only 32 minutes to be replaced by James Ward Prowse and this would be the end of his Premier League career at St Mary's, he did play two more games for the club though again condensed into a week, firstly scoring in a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace in the League cup in September 2016 and then a week later starting away to Beer Sheva in the Europa League.

But this was the end of his Saints career and he has spent much of the last 5 years out on loan, he would have left far earlier but he was stuck due to a contract that paid him far more than he could get if he had been transferred, no one can blame him for seeing that out and making sure he will be financially secure and hopefully he will not be short of a club or two chasing his signature now he is a free agent.

So good luck to all 11 players who are leaving us this summer at the end of their contracts, their stories are all different, but i wish them all the best and hope that going forward they get what they want out of their footballing careers going forward.

Photo: Action Images

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ElijahK added 11:19 - Jun 5
Don’t know/understand of what happened to Sims, as he always looked pretty decent whenever he played and was 10X better than Redmond! But other than him I think that who we’ve released isn’t too bad, although it’s more of who are we going to release next season that I’m worried about!

Colburn added 12:51 - Jun 5
Good luck to them all! I hope they all find new clubs. Sims run, taking out defenders as he surged forward before slipping the ball to Longy will always be remembered. Best wishes to Bertie, overall one of our best signings this century, usually a solid 7/10 or better.
I have more concerns over who we are bringing in or looking to bring in.. Get the feeling we'll be waiting for the best deals at the end of the window again apart from Walcott who nobody else seems interested in.

A1079 added 12:59 - Jun 5
I wish them all well in whatever they do or wherever they go. The Bertrand aspect has been well covered and someone will benefit from his experience. Josh Sims I do not feel got a real good chance along with a few other youngsters which is sort of frustrating when you have seen for the best part of half of a season how poor some of the performances have been with a number of our first team experienced players. They seem to get a place whether or not they are performing up to the job. I recall the days when McMenemy did not have a problem dropping any player to the reserves for a few games when they did not come upto the job.

On a wider topic has to be the decline and lack of return from our so called much lauded academy. Struggling hard to recall the last player to come off the conveyor belt and make it at Saints and make a difference, yet I understood that this is the model that Saints were supposed to be working around. Alot of investment has gone into it and at one stage it did seem to be reaping benefits but that seems to have long dried up and is reflected in how poor the performances and results have been at all levels this past season - apart from the womens team of course.

I suppose the question is at all levels, is the quality of the players or the quality of the coaching and development

claus5 added 13:11 - Jun 5
I will watch with interest what happens to Sims now. 10x as good as Redmond, i don't think so? If as most on here want, and Redmond leaves, i bet he goes to a much bigger club than Sims. Sims to me is one of those who was vastly overated, and just got better the more games he did't play! Maybe i'll be proved wrong, but i seriously doubt it?

Sadoldgit added 13:17 - Jun 5
Apparently Walcott had better offers elsewhere but chose to take a pay cut to join us so it is a bit unfair to say no one else wanted him.

allsaint54 added 17:04 - Jun 5
Should have released Redmond & kept Sims - always gave100% & didn't trip over his ego.

Crispinmumbles added 20:26 - Jun 5
Anyone fancy a stint as left-back next season?

Boris1977 added 20:26 - Jun 5
Even more fuel for the conspiracy theorists out there


underweststand added 06:23 - Jun 6
The predicted clearout has started and we haven't started with real money transfers yet.

Aside from the familiar names came a typical group of youngsters who had a promising start at Academy level, and even played a little for the B team, yet never got even close the the first team bench. For those still determined to make a League career the road is a bit steeper and will begin at a lower level, but there is no disgrace in being NOT quite good enough for the limited places in a Prem. squad and they should take comfort from the list of those who came and went before them without impacting the Prem. yet still made a good career. Ings and Mings are two good examples of late developers, and rumour has it that Saints considered releasing the skinny, underweight Gareth Bale
way back when, before he got his breakthrough games. Hope springs eternal.

Like many others, I'm a tad disappointed / surprised / puzzled by the release of Josh Sims who seems to have left a memorable impact on many although only ever featuring as a fringe player. He will get attention from interested clubs who read " Saints Academy" on his CV and this may well make the difference in his search for a new club. He wouldn't be the first winger to come up a bit short on goals, but did start last season with 4 goals in 4 games for the B team, before his loan out and his passing game and assists show that he has more in his game than some others who are still at the club.

Good luck to them all in what can be a surprising, yet all too often short career span.

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