A Big Summer Ahead
The football played by Southampton this season has been superb. We have dominated large periods of games against pretty much every team we have faced and have enjoyed a growing reputation for playing an exciting style of football.
May 12th, 2014
It is said that the second season of top flight football is harder for promoted teams to follow. Riding the wave of a feel good factor mixed with the mentality of a Championship season spent winning the majority of your games has faded away. Survival – your only goal for your first season back in the Premier League – has been achieved. Now your Club wants to progress and further compete. Money is spent on improving the club. Lots of money, in fact (compared to the Championship). Gambles are made and some pay off. Some do not…
Southampton showed no signs of suffering from what I’m calling ‘second season syndrome’. A campaign that has culminated in a record points score for the club and an 8th placed finish behind a transitional Manchester United team. As well as that, it looks like as many as three Saints players will be on the plane to Brazil this summer when Roy Hodgson announces his 23 man World Cup squad on Monday.
The football played by Southampton this season has been superb. We have dominated large periods of games against pretty much every team we have faced and have enjoyed a growing reputation for playing an exciting style of football. Our academy needs no introduction but it continues to produce top quality youngsters, some of whom have been linked with moves away from Southampton all season. That will only get worse during ‘silly season’ (translation: the transfer window).
Liverpool showed what can be achieved this season without the distraction of European football, but the only blips on an otherwise fantastic season for Southampton have been the inability to progress further in the FA cup (when our league position was safe) and the record signing of Dani Osvaldo.
Whilst I won’t go into cup selection policy, Southampton had enough chances to beat Sunderland in the fifth round – they were just not good enough on the day. As for Dani Osvaldo, whilst his signing was designed to make people sit up and take notice, concerns were raised from the offset about his temperament and whether it could be controlled. He sporadically showed his quality (YouTube: ‘Osvaldo goal vs City’) but his confrontational and volatile personality made you think he was trying to get sent off every time he played. The ego didn’t fit with a squad of down-to-earth lads and after a training ground fight he was quickly loaned out to Juventus. Southampton will be lucky to make back anywhere near what they paid for him when they try to offload him this summer.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino has a year left on his contract with Southampton and whilst I am confident talks will be held in the next week or so, the first and most important task for the board is sorting out a new long term contract. It is quite clear that the players like the Argentine and they all work extremely hard for him and his back room staff. With his future secure Southampton have a much better chance of keeping their prized assets at the club.
All eyes are on England for the World Cup, I just hope Southampton are in the strongest position they can be once the transfer window opens…