Several clubs were always known as selling teams, and it still applies to some today
These clubs have an innate ability to develop their own youth to the highest standards and give them the chance that they would not get, as soon, anywhere else.
They buy players on realistic fees – real bargains, actually – and develop them for a season or two and then have to watch as they are sold for bigger money, or to their league rivals.
Southampton are one such club.
It is a shame in a way to see this happen to a well run, well established club. In the last two or three seasons you could argue that they have punched above their weight, as successive qualifications to the Europa League were obtained without too much fuss.
Indeed, last season, they came so very close to a Champions League place.
Every season the club appears to have to sell some of its most talented individuals and whilst the cash in is a positive, you would think that the club would suffer, but that’s not been the case.
The recruitment of new players in is as sound as you can find and not only do they fit straight into the team, they also seem to take the club to another level on every occasion.
Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal have all plundered the shores of St Mary’s in the last two years, spending a combined total of £132.5million on Southampton players as at last summers reckoning.
This summer, Mane has gone to Liverpool, Wanyama to Tottenham and Pelle to China, and if you consider the talent that The Saints have sold and you put them together as a team, it would be quite a useful side in the Premier League. Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Nathaniel Clyne, Morgan Schneiderlin et al, would prove a tasty adversary to many teams.
Not only has Southampton been stripped by Premier League rivals for their players, but for their talented managers as well. After Pochettino left for Tottenham, Saints fans have had to watch Ronald Koeman decide that the blue half of Merseyside was irresistible.
Each sale is logical, but when viewed together, it has the feel of an exodus and Southampton have the feel of a lost club, desperately scrambling to find its way again. The selling may continue, but Southampton are now struggling to spend the money they have in the bank.
Claude Puel is wisely holding back from splashing the cash just yet, as he looks over who he has and decides on what he needs.
Discontent has been rife amongst certain members of the squad in recent years and this led to a club appearing to have a necessity to sell on players, but did they really need to? Are there problems internally? Southampton would debate the point that they “need” to sell.
It looks as though they had to due to player pressure in some cases.
Optimism is high on the South Coast for the coming season, though. A new manager and great expectations of more of the same make it an engaging season for Saints fans, but even with the positivity around, the club need to hold onto the best players and build around them.
Equally, if there are things going on behind the scenes, it will unsettle players and more will either not join or leave and the selling club label will become more enhanced among the football fraternity.