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These Are The Six Positions That Southampton Need To Fill For Premier League Survival
Friday, 7th Jun 2024 09:22

One thing for certain about next season's return to the Premier League is that we will need to spend and more to the point we will need to spend well, but what are the key positions that we need to fill.

These days it is just not possible to make the jump from the Championship to the premier League and stick with the squad that got you up.

In most cases clubs who get promoted have the foundations but are far from the real deal, so where do Saints stand and what areas do they need to improve.

In early June and with several loan signings from last year mooted for a permanent move, it is difficult to predict just where we need to strengthen, so for the purpose of this article I am going to assume that Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Fraser Richardson & Flynn Downes all return to St Mary's on a permanent basis and that everyone else stays, if they don't then we would need to consider who would replace them.

The first position is goalkeeper, Gavin Bazunu is unlikely to play much before the end of next season, Alex McCarthy did well at the end of the season, but ultimately in his time hear he has shown that he is not the answer as a number one and Joe Lumley has never played in the top flight.

So we need to bring in someone to take over the Number one spot, I would think that we will be looking at who is on the benches at other Premier League clubs and looking at loan signings, there are several candidates, but Russell Martin will want a keeper who can play with his feet.

One thing is for sure it needs to be someone with experience at the highest level.

Alex McCarthy & Joe Lumley are back ups and nothing else, Alex McCarthy staying as number two would not be a bad option, but with Liverpool being linked with him, if you were McCarthy whose bench would you want to sit on next season.

Next is the defence, we need another central defender, someone who can organise and be a leader, someone like Conor Coady could fit the bill, we do not necessarily need a 38 game a season started, just someone who can come in and offer something we don't currently have.

We also need a left back, there is no one at the club who is at the moment truly Premier League quality, Romain Perraud had a very mixed time in his two Premier League seasons, Jack Stephens is not a left back, Ryan Manning is not Premier League quality, Juan Larios could well be, but he is still an unknown quality, we need to cover the position and then see if he develops.

In the midfield we also need a leader, we have a plethora of options, but with Stuart Armstrong gone, none with much Premier League experience, James Ward Prowse returning would be a great option, but if it is him or someone else we need another experienced leader in the side.

We have a vacancy for a wide player, we do have options, so I don't see this as a major issue, but we are still a man short both in terms of quality and numbers.

Lastly we need a central striker, Che Adams looks likely to leave, he may stay, but truthfully he has never really shown that he can get into double figures in the four years he played in the Premier League, yes I would be pleased if he stayed, but up front you need someone who can get 10 goals a season and he isn't that man.

These are the six key signings that we need to make and that is assuming that no one leaves, if a key players goes we will need to reassess

The one key issue for me though is that we need a leader, we need someone who is respected and can lead and organise, that used to be the case over the years, we always had that man, Alan Ball, Jimmy Case in the centre and then the likes of Claus Lundekvam & Jose Fonte at the back, this man is not Captain Jack Stephens, a great club servant, no one disagrees with that, but he is not the man, nor for that matter is anyone else currently at the club.

There are many players being linked at present, but how concrete the rumours are I am not sure and the truth is little will happen until July.

But every signing does not need to be a candidate for player of the season, Adam Lallana looks likely to be returning, he is not returning as the Adam Lallana that left 10 years ago, he is returning as an experienced leader, if his wages are £30 k a week, that is still only £1.5 million a year, given there is no transfer fee, this is a small price, a drop in the ocean for a Premier league club and a bargain for the experience he will bring in.

So it is going to be a busy period for Southampton FC, we need to stay calm and see what happens and hopefully see the right signings made.

Remember though, there will be little or no business done before July 1st when players get their loyalty bonus, so there is no need to panic, after July 1st we have 6 weeks to get our business done before the start of the season, but as we all know, the big deals get done in the final week of the window..

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derbydog added 10:06 - Jun 7
You are wrong about July 1st being important. There are plenty of transfers happening. The contracts being signed may be dated July 1st perhaps but there is no reason not to agree and sign now. You are also wrong about THB not happening until July 1st — that deal is contained in last year’s contract signed by both clubs and the player. Otherwise it could all fall down by any party trying to get a better deal at the last minute. We have six first team centre halves now with the returning loanees, so I don’t see us adding any more until we have offloaded a few of them.

derbydog added 10:07 - Jun 7
Also Alcatraz not in your plans or do you think he has an escape route!?!

kenis added 11:36 - Jun 7
I think on the centre halves Caleta-Car's deal was like THB, it becomes permanent and Lynaco isnt returning either, he's off to Brazil so its only ABK whose future is up in the air. I dont think Cody would be player we'd go for but he does have experience in a three.

I would assume unless / until Romain Perraud is sold we wont go for another left back, even if sold we may do without if Fraser is expected to play LWB rotating with Manning and Larios to be given a chance and Meghoma as emergency/peripheral. Also if we keep KWP we dont need a left back cover we need additional right back or left/right back - hence links to Ben Johnson on a free

JWP (which I cant see happening) and Llanana would complete midfield spaces with Downes, Aribo and Smallbone unless upgrades are available/JWP alternative.

We also need two strikers in addition to a goalkeeper. Additional wide player if Sulemana is written off after poor Championship season. Need to be able to revert to 4-3-3 for some games / in games.

WestSussexSaint added 13:06 - Jun 7
Couple of points:

Firstly I think in addition to the 6 positions above we need to secure a defensive midfielder. Ideally that is Downes but either way that will be a new signing (permanent or second year on loan). If not Downes we need someone else.

Secondly filling the seven positions won’t come cheap. Yes we have c£140m (or whatever the amount is from those linked to the play off win) but that is unlikely to stretch to spending transfer fees on all those positions. We have already spent £20m on THB and we have to consider FPP which as we have seen severely hampers clubs needing to invest in playing staff. Even if we get some return on players who were on loan last season and we can sell this summer, I would anticipate at least two of those roles listed being season long loans. Probably the GK if the club see Bazunu coming back as No 1, possibly also Downes on a second years loan if West Ham don't want to sell outright but both WH and player want to get regular minutes in the PL. it’s also possible that some of those loan players do make the grade for RM. ABK and Alcaraz are the two most likely which would save money on finding new players.

DellBoyWally added 14:16 - Jun 7
Sports Witness is suggesting we could make an offer to Jose Fonte!! Apart from being a crazy idea, Jose wants to spend time with his family in Portugal so that is a non-starter. (Good interview on BBC Sounds)
Why do people keep mentioning ABK? Stats show he was one of the worst defenders in Europe when he was playing. Most of the time he was injured and much of the rest of the time was on the bench. No, a really bad idea getting him back.
Anyone know the situation regarding Mateusz Lis? Our original purchase for goal-keeper! GB was second choice when Lis had work-permit problems. I know he is still our player, and our best GK by far, and we have held onto him all this time for a reason.

AmericanSaint added 16:54 - Jun 7
I think the top 3 priorities are as follows:
1. GK - We should go after Ramsdale or even Ortega - We need a proven #1 GK. GB has time to learn more and could a star in the future but was shaky at time I think a season or two of seasoning will do him well.
2. Striker - I know everyone want a world class one, but since we will nto spend $50 need for one, then we need to look at some proven PL strikers, especially if Che leaves (looks more like it).
3. LB - This is one of our weakest points. I thought RP did well enough but over the last few days there have been some decent PL experienced LB released from some of the major clubs and we should go get one.

After these, the dominoes fall for Midfield and CB and there are so many factors in these spots that you will need another article for them.

Just happy to be able to watch the Saints again every weekend in the US. COYR

Cjay80 added 23:34 - Jun 7
We need a GK to challenge GB when he returns from injury and guaranteed to start about 50% of the matches. List could be the man here.

A first choice LB and a back up RB as despite their efforts I just don't have the confidence that Manning and Bree can cut it in the Prem.

Downes is a must sign and I'd be happy to see Ryan Fraser back.

Charlie Alcaraz could fill the Stuey void.

As for the striker, I'd take Eddie Nketiah. Always hungry, rarely given the opportunity at Arsenal but always seems to score when he plays against us.

I also see little point bringing back any of Fobte, Ings, Lallana but would love to see JWP back, playing further forward with Downes/Charles covering the back 4.


Peterx added 07:35 - Jun 10
Like the call for Nketiah, not going to set the world alight, but would likely do enough to help keep us up with a good run of games and in our budget.

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