When a team like Southampton has the success that they did last season, then bigger clubs with more money are inevitably going to come looking for your players. That’s only natural and to be expected, but the way Southampton have handled their business in the midst of those exits this summer was not what was to be expected by anybody.
The summer transfer window was always going to be an extremely difficult period of time for Southampton because it was inevitable, after the success of last season and the exciting emergence of some of their young players, that they would lose many of their better players to other teams. It’s very difficult in the Premier League to hang on to players who have impressed everybody and have ambitions themselves that are beyond what a team like Southampton can realistically achieve.
The whole world knew this, however, as did Southampton themselves. It wasn’t a shock when teams began to line up with bid after bid for their talented players and that the players themselves were actually looking to move to one of those clubs. But looking at the way everything has now unfolded, Southampton just look totally unprepared for the position they are now in. It’s not easy for the Saints, obviously, but they’re making it harder on themselves than it really needs to be.
So far Southampton have received close to £100m in transfer fees this summer, and already knowing what was coming, the club should have been fully prepared with replacements already lined up. Instead, only two players have arrived at the club and the rest of the replacements will now prove more difficult to secure as the clock ticks down and other teams now know the kind of money Southampton have to spend; the longer the summer goes, the harder it will get.
Having a new head coach trying to settle in does not help either, of course, with Ronald Koeman arriving to replace Mauricio Pochettino who joined Tottenham Hotspur. But you have to have some kind of contingency plan in place, and Southampton clearly did not. Replacements could still have been pursued before the likes of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and Callum Chambers were allowed to officially leave the club. Why is it that a team that already knew what was coming is now scratching around looking for replacements with just under three weeks until the new season?
It’s going to continue to be a very difficult transfer window for Southampton, with Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin looking like they could be next out of the exit door. And as the exodus continues, the club looks more and more under-prepared with every sale. The unfortunate thing for all the fans of the Saints is that a difficult summer will likely result in a difficult season in the Premier League also. It leaves Southampton with a lot of work to do between now and the beginning of the new season, but really, they only have so much to do now because they were under-prepared from the beginning.