Southampton actually have the spine of a very competitive Premier League side.
In Tino Livramento and Kyle Walker-Peters, Ralph Hasenhuttl can rely a pair of swashbuckling full-backs who would walk into the respective starting XIs of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. James Ward-Prowse and Oriol Romeu are as reliable a midfield partnership you could wish to find. And Mohamed Salisu has come on leaps and bounds in his second season at St Mary’s.
But how do Southampton reach the next rung of the ladder? Well, a decent transfer window would certainly help.
The investment provided by new Serbian billionaire owner Dragan Solak means, in theory, the Saints may be freed up to go head-to-head with the likes of Aston Villa and Wolves this summer.
The Athletic claim that Southampton are looking at both experience and exuberance in the market; Proven, established players capable of making an immediate impact as well as the kind of exciting, baby-faced youngster that Saints have such an excellent track record of unearthing.
Someone like Chukwubuike Junior Adamu, for instance.
A 20-year-old Austria international, Adamu is a speedy, versatile forward plying his trade for Red Bull Salzburg. Sound familiar, Saints fans? If Adamu, linked via The Mail, can emulate Sadio Mane on the South Coast, he’d be worth every penny of that £15 million price-tag.
Adamu, who can play through the middle or out wide, could fill a void created by the departures of Nathan Redmond, Theo Walcott and Moussa Djenepo. Southampton will listen to offers for all three (The Athletic).
One player Southampton will be desperate to keep, however, is Armando Broja. According to The Guardian, they’ve already held talks with Chelsea about a permanent deal. Getting one over the line will be easier said than done. The Blues may be more tempted by another 12-month loan.
Southampton could replace – or supplement – Broja with Flamengo’s Brazil international Pedro.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague reported last month that the Saints are keen.
A NEW GOALKEEPER
At the other end of the pitch, the potential departures of Fraser Forster, Alex McCarthy and Willy Caballero means a new goalkeeper is a must. According to The Sun, Southampton fear they have lost out to Tottenham for West Brom’s Sam Johnstone.
They could move for Dundee United’s Benjamin Siegrist instead.
Another inconsistent season from Jan Bednarek and the uncertainty surrounding Jack Stephens, meanwhile, means a new centre-back is also high on Hasenhuttl’s wishlist.
Timo Hubers, valued at £6 million by Bundesliga high-flyers Cologne, is one target (Mail). Cameron Carter-Vickers is another, though Celtic have an option-to-buy clause in the Tottenham loanee’s contract.
You can expect the full-back positions to remain the same, while captain marvel Ward-Prowse will be going nowhere after signing a new five-year deal last August. Former West Ham United midfielder and Ireland internatioanl Josh Cullen has been linked, via TEAMtalk.
But it is hard to see how he gets into Hasenhuttl’s XI when Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu and the always-underrated Stuart Armstrong are all fit and available.