Southampton look to be back on track after a shaky start to their Premier League campaign, solidifying their position as a strong top half outfit.
That may be doing a disservice to Ronald Koeman’s side, who pushed hard for Champions League qualification last term – but it’s hard to see them finishing in the top four.
However, the South Coast side are big players in the verging on mini league created by the likes of themselves, Swansea, Everton and West Ham, and can beat anyone on their day. They possess excellent players – the likes of Graziano Pelle, Sadio Mane and Ryan Bertrand would be big parts of most Premier League squads.
After adding players such as Victor Wanyama, a fully fit Jay Rodriguez and Jose Fonte to that list, it’s easy to see why Koeman presides over exciting times at the club. However, there is still room for improvement at St. Mary’s, with some deadwood still floating about.
Here are FIVE players that are no men for Koeman…
Oddly enough, before Southampton carved out a reputation as the best buyers in the division – they wasted a lot of money on the likes of Gaston Ramirez and Dani Osvaldo.
The Uruguayan attacker has suffered with injuries, granted, but his time is surely up. A loan move to Hull City didn’t lead to much in the way of goals and assists, and Saints’ squad has simply moved on from overpaid egos.
The signing of Virgil van Dijk looks to have galvanised a back line that had lost some of its imperialistic aura. At times last term, the South Coast side built their good form off their sound defensive reserves – and look to heading that way again.
With Ryan Bertrand now back in the side, Maya Yoshida can revert to his natural centre-back position, as cover for the likes of Jose Fonte and the former Celtic man. Gardos, who only arrived last year, has failed to truly convince in red and white and could be shifted in the New Year.
The Welsh youngster could be sent away on loan, with little impact on the first-team squad. One area Koeman is well stocked is in the forward positions, now Jay Rodriguez is fully fit after his major injury layoff.
Isgrove is a decent enough squad option, but with the likes of Sadio Mane, Dusan Tadic and James Ward-Prowse also in contention, a loan move away could benefit all parties.
No doubt a vital part of the Saints’ march over recent seasons, the club captain should be moved on. Sentimental value can’t have much sway at a club as ambitious as Southampton, who are aiming for the top.
With Paul Gazzaniga and Maarten Stekelenburg available between the posts, should an offer for Davis arrive they should take what money they can.
Granted, Fraser Forster is a long term injury loss, which may have been key when deciding not to release the 39-year-old.
Juanmi might be an excellent player, but he can’t get a look in at the moment. The aforementioned attacking players seem to be set in the starting berths, with the likes of Steven Davis and Jay Rodriguez also available.
A loan deal to keep the Spaniard sharp would be ideal, and give the player a chance to show Koeman his abilities.