Mark Hughes may have been sacked and replaced by Ralph Hasenhuttl, but go back a few months and the Welshman was handed a new contract having kept Southampton in the top-flight.
But what if that contract never saw the light of day and you took charge? Read on to find out what’s in store on Football Manager 2019…
If you were to take charge on the south coast, the board would demand a far greater start to the season than Hughes was able to orchestrate, as they expect a top half finish come the end of the year.
Outside the Premier League, both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup need to be focused on, as the fifth and fourth rounds respectively are the bare minimum required – meaning a strong and deep squad is a must.
The one-time FA Cup winners spent heavily in the summer with Jannik Vestergaard, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Angus Gunn brought to the south coast, but that does not limit your spending with a further £32.9million in the bank to spend on reinforcements.
There’s also £150,000 reserved for wages, meaning top quality additions are a possibility.
Although the club rates Cedric very highly, they suggest another quality option is brought in to provide competition for the right-back spot, as the Portuguese ace is the only serious option there.
Bayer Leverkusen’s £13.25million rated superstar Mitchell Weiser would be an incredible coup should you pull it off, as the 24-year-old is one of the best right-backs on Football Manager 2019.
Like on the right-hand side, there is only a first choice left-back currently at the club in Ryan Bertrand, and beyond that you would be relying on unproven youth talent.
To strengthen this position, look no further than Valencia’s Jose Gaya, who is an incredible full-back despite a measly valuation of £12.25m.
Elyounoussi may only have been signed in the summer of 2018, but the Norway international of Moroccan birth leads the way with no contender on the right-wing – James Ward Prowse is better suited to a central role.
Real Madrid’s fringe star Lucas Vazquez, however, would put the 21-cap international in his shadow, should you look to take advantage of his £15.25million valuation.
There are not too many options to consider at centre-back, but Maya Yoshida can be sold with little backlash.
The 29-year-old is valued at £11.25million, so would free funds to strengthen elsewhere, and open a slot for Jan Bednarek to move into, as the 22-year-old is the Saints’ future leader at the back.
With Danny Ings the number one striker at St Mary’s and joining permanently at the start of season two, there is no need to keep Charlie Austin at the club.
The former Queens Park Rangers striker is not a better option to rotate with Ings than Shane Long or Manolo Gabbiadini, yet is valued at a hefty £20million.
Steven Davis has been at Southampton since 2012 and has recorded more than 220 appearances in red and white, but given he is now 33, it is time for his south coast stint to reach its end.
It’s mostly down to his £60,000-a-week wage that he should be sold, as he will not compete with Oriol Romeu, Mario Lemina or Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg for a spot in the heart of the side.
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Teenage defender Yan Valery is undoubtedly one for the future at Southampton, for he can become a solid option in your ranks.
His in-game estimated potential does not truly reflect his future abilities, and should be utilised if you opt against signing a proven right-back.
Saints U23 star Callum Slattery is another one to keep an eye on, as he has the highest estimated potential and will become a key rotation option over the years.
Despite being just 17-years-old, Michael Obafemi will cause opponents a multitude of problems in the cup competitions, and should be brought into the first-team whenever possible to boost his development.