A Satisfying Transfer Window For Southampton. Part 1 The Outgoings
Friday, 3rd Sep 2021 09:32
Now the window is firmly slammed shut we can now take an objective look at the incomings and outgoings of the last three months with objectivity and feel that it has been a satisfying transfer window, albeit on that at the moment we have to be cautiously optimistic.
Saints squad last season was notoriously thin on the ground, a casual onlooked would have concluded that if we judge the Saints youth system on how many were close to making their first team debuts that it must be in a healthy state, the reality was that the squad was reduced to the bare bones by injury and suspension till its lowest point at Manchester United were we even ran out of youngsters and had to have two goalkeepers on the bench, some would say if only we could have played them both at the same time.
So this transfer window was always going to be about not only replacing those leaving, but also getting some depth into the squad.
Most of the transfers out were players who had played little part, they fell into two categories, youngsters who had played some part in the first team under Ralph Hasenhuttl but were not likely to make a total breakthrough so out went, Callum Slattery, Alexandre Jankewitz, Tyreke Johnson, Jake Hesketh and to a greater extent Michael Obafemi.
Between them they had 1 Premier League start, Jankewitz's 1 minute debacle at Old Trafford and 5 appearances off the bench.
The next group were those on big contracts, out went Mario Lemina (He's an under achiever, as the song should have gone) Wesley Hoedt & Angus Gunn, none had played a Premier League game last season and only Gunn in the past two seasons, the transfer fee's raked in were a loss on that paid out, but it was still around £15 million, but more to the point we made a saving of around £150 k a week in wages on the three, that just about £8 million a year.
Finally there were the three players who played regularly last season, Ryan Bertrand was the first out on a free transfer, he had a capable season, but little else, he started 29 Premier League games, but at 31 his edge had gone and it has to be said his enthusiasm, he was still a talented player at times, but he was not the player he was a few years back.
This time last year Jannnik Vestergaard was 4th choice central defender, he had rarely impressed in his two years at the club and when linked with a move away the most used phrase was "I'll drive him there myself", he came back into the team in the third game and looked a different player, he too started 29 Premier League games, but on reflection for 12 of the games he looked to be a good player until his injury in December, when he returned in February he was back to the old Vestergaard, perhaps our opponents had sussed the diagonal ball and the late arrival into the penalty area for a Ward Prowse corner, but he wasn't the same player.
The last of the trio was the most missed, Danny Ings, the prodigal son who returned home and then broke our hearts by leaving again, as Ralph Hasenhuttl so eloquently put it " Players do not want to be club legend's anymore"
Perhaps the thing that hurt the most though was the fact that Ings did not leave for glory, he clearly left for money , Saints report ably offered him £100k a week making him the highest paid player in the club's history, yet it wasn't enough.
If he had left for one of the club's in the Champions League as he had allegedly agreed with the club that he would only do, then you could have understood it, indeed even if he had gone to Spurs or Leicester or even to a lesser degree West Ham then you could have understood the lure of a club in European football and with a chance of chasing a top six spot for the coming season.
But he didn't he left for Aston Villa in a move that happened so fast that it took not just Southampton FC the club itself by surprise, not just the fans but his team mates themselves.
But is Aston Villa about chasing glory or about chasing money, sadly from the outside it appears the latter, in today's Premier League if you are not one of what where the Big Six, but now the Big Four plus Spurs, Leicester & Arsenal, you have little chance of actually winning anything.
The clubs like Everton or now Aston Villa who are spending big ultimately are still light years away from competing, even getting into the top 10 is a lottery, Villa are like Saints one of a middle ground pack in the Premier League of 10 clubs, at the top chasing 7th with the hope that like Saints in 2016 & West Ham last season perhaps squeezing into 6th is a rare possibility.
But at the bottom of the 10 it is the polar opposite, hoping that you can stay out of the relegation fight, Aston Villa are a better bet this season for a top 10 place, they have some money, but after that their odds of winning something or even a top 6 place are not much better than Saints.
So what really hurt is that Danny Ings could have been a club legend, but at the end of the day he preferred money.
But back to the overall transfer window and Ings aside we have not lost anyone that really was part of the future.
But we have lost a lot of players who were part of the past and in doing so saved a lot of wages, even the loan players were costing us money, it is not about looking back and saying that Lemina for instance cost us £16 million and we sold him for £5 million, it is about getting rid of deadwood and saving wages.
This outgoing transfer window was about getting some money in and shaving money off the wage bill, this we did, it is of course hard to gauge how much, transfer fees are not disclosed and nor are wages.
But I would say the stats for the outgoings are roughly this
Players out = 11 ( First team players from last season out 3)
So overall a great piece of outgoing business, it would have been better to have kept Danny Ings, but we have to now look forward, last season Ings Started 26 Premier League games plus 3 as sub scoring 12 goals, that is the benchmark that Adam Armstrong needs to achieve. If he does that then Ings departure will be viewed next summer as good business.
As I always say "It is not about what has just happened, It is about what you do next"
Last season partenership between Danny Ings and Che Adams yielded 21 goals in the Premier League, if they can both match that or more then it could be a very good season.
The outgoing transfers were a successful half of the transfer window last summer, a clearing out of those who had contributed nothing, a departure of a player who at 31 we had seen his best days, £15 million back for a player who had played literally 12 great games in 3 seasons and losing only one that truly would make a difference this season.
Photo: Action Images
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