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Football News: Current thoughts on Southampton FC

Current thoughts on Southampton FC
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Now the season is over, our thoughts inevitably drift to transfers. Irrespective of our views on the playing staff at Southampton FC, there are other, more decisive factors on summer activity. The club is restructuring with vacancies in roles previously filled by Kreuger and Reed. The club may still be looking to change its structure as well so while a chairman will be appointed, things may work a little differently on the football operations side. The person heading up that side of things will be the one responsible for identifying and signing the right players and selling those looking to leave. It will be crucial that this person works with Ralph Hassenhuttl and Ross Wilson to identify the players and personalities we need.

The last we heard, the club aims to stick to a policy of developing talented young players to sell at a profit. Its a sound model that served us well in the past and it should not be concerning if that is our focus. That's the sort of player we are most likely to be looking for, but from a small or middle-sized club. Someone off the radar or considered too risky for the big clubs as their talent is unproven domestically. We now have a head coach who is proving his ability to develop players within a clear system and approach to the game, so his appointment seems a clear indication that this is the club's chosen path.

On that front, before we write off half the squad, let's not forget that since Hassenthuttl's appointment in early December, he has made the team and the players better. We have earned 1.25 points per game, which, over the course of a season, would've seen us finish on 47 points and 13th place this season. Whilst statistics are no guarantee of success, this improved performance was achieved with little time for RH to instil the full working detail of his football philosophy.

The players had to get the gist without the finer points. Now RH has the summer to get his message across in greater depth and detail, we'll hopefully see even better and more consistent performances, leading in turn to an even better points haul. Just 5 more points could see us creep into the top ten. More could see us challenging for Europe. With a coach who improves players, some previously considered not fit for purpose may now become good squad players if they rise to the challenge set and meet Ralph's expectations of work rate and adapting to coaching.

The other argument for not selling too many is about the balance of the squad. With young, unproven talent, form is likely to be inconsistent so stability will be needed from experienced and more consistent players. Even if a player is simply a back-up player, a sub or used in rotation, they may still play a vital role within the squad in levelling out performances over the course of the season.

The club also stated ahead of the last transfer window that funds aren't being made available for transfers by the owner and the we will continue to reinvest money from player sales into purchases. We've heard no different so some will inevitably leave and hopefully, they will be the players RH is happy to let go. But given we're a club at the wrong end of the table fees for players wanting to leave or that we consider expendable are likely to be modest. In short, we're not likely to have a vast pot of funds to splash on bringing in 5 or 6 players.

So this summer should be about managing our own expectations. Firstly, we should have faith in our new head coach to continue to improve the existing squad of players and even without any new signings, we could see an improvement in league standing. However, it would be a real surprise if there were no comings and goings at all. They may be modest ones but any new signing should be greeted with excitement because whatever their status on arriving at Saints, they will be given the opportunity to get even better here.

If they're signed with RH's approval, they will be coming with a specific role in mind as he builds a team rather than simply listing talented players and figuring out how they'll fit together when they arrive. If you hope for, or expect, more in this transfer window, you may well be setting yourself up for a fall and a feeling of disappointment before the new season even gets under way. That would be a shame given that with a head coach of RH's ability, we should all be looking forward to next season with excitement. We should enjoy it while he's here and hope he lays the foundations for a more stable period than we've endured over the last three seasons.

Written by elfigo May 15 2019 15:27:50


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