Southampton in 2014/15 – Saints are starting all over again

Read QPR in 2014/15 – Stability needed for survival

Read Stoke City in 2014/15 – Bojan will add spark to solidity

When Mauricio Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins, he began to build a new philosophy at Southampton, but few expected the success that would be achieved last year. The Argentine brought his brand of high pressing, attacking football to the Saints’ play which caught many big clubs out. A win against Liverpool and draws against both Manchester clubs before the turn of the year added to six wins and four draws as the South Coast side quickly became everyone’s second favourite side.

Attractive on the eye, their core of talented English players included Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert, James Ward-Prowse, Nathaniel Clyne, Jack Cork and Calum Chambers. Eventually finishing in a very respectable eighth position, at one point they threatened the seventh place of the ‘lowly’ Man Utd. Lambert’s 13 goals and ten assists and Lallana’s nine goals and five assists were enough to see both players join up with the England World Cup squad in Brazil over the summer.

Aims for the season ahead

Quite simply, the Saints need to put the summer’s mass exodus behind them and begin to look forward to the new era. The side has effectively been dismantled over the summer – Pochettino to Tottenham, Lambert, Lovren and Lallana to Liverpool, Shaw to Man Utd and Chambers to Arsenal. Dutch legend Ronald Koeman has arrived from Feyenoord with experience of winning silverware, notably three Dutch league titles and domestic cups in both Holland and Spain. It is his prowess in the cups that may interest Saints fans most, who were tipped for a good cup run last year but for a defeat against an out of form Sunderland side.

Ryan Bertrand has arrived on loan to replace Luke Shaw, while Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle have arrived from the Eredivisie – the latter working underneath Koeman at Feyenoord. England goalkeeper Fraser Forster has joined from Celtic in an £11m deal as the new manager begins to put his own stamp on his new club, more out of necessity than simply a clichéd approach. He needs to galvanise his new squad and integrate his new foreign recruits quickly if Southampton are to pick themselves up for the new season. Further signings will almost certainly be required and expected, as fans will quite rightly demand the large sale fees received to be reinvested in the playing squad.

Key summer signing so far

Dusan Tadic. The much-lauded Serbian left winger arrives with an impressive record in the Dutch league. Netting 28 goals in in last two seasons for Twente, he finished the 2013/14 campaign as the fourth highest goalscorer in the league (16) and boasting the highest number of assists (14). This all round contribution could be vital to the new-look Saints, and replace the void left by Adam Lallana. His arrival can also relieve goal scoring and creating duties from Jay Rodriguez and the extremely promising James Ward-Prowse who will surely look to emerge this season.

Predicted finish: 9th

Many have predicted doom and gloom for Koeman’s new look Southampton side, and although a lot will ride on the manager and his signings’ ability to make the transition, I still think they will be a mid-table force to be reckoned with. They would do well to match the feats of Pochettino’s side in terms of performances and style, but with sale money reinvested wisely, this transition season may be more successful than expected. Let’s not write this Saints team off just yet.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Read Southampton in 2014/15 – Saints are starting all over again […]

  2. […] Read Southampton in 2014/15 – Saints are starting all over again […]

  3. […] Southampton in 2014/15 Season Preview […]

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