Will Saints dip into the market?
Southampton fans are largely used to the transfer window being a rather quiet affair - last summer was an exception, of course - but rather than most of the focus being on who Saints will sign, it usually centres around who will leave the club.
January 9th, 2014
Transfer speculation surrounds all clubs, whether they’re looking to do business or not. But the success of the Southampton academy draws more admiring glances now than it ever has. It’s no surprise really, having played a massive part in producing the world’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale.
And, now that Saints are back in the Premier League their policy of giving youth a chance is providing the highest-quality platform for their stars of the future to learn their trade – a platform which those young players look comfortable playing at too.
Exciting left back Luke Shaw has attracted a lot of attention since making his debut in the Premier League last season. Manchester United continue to be linked, but with Patrice Evra now 32 years of age that’s an easy link to make.
However it’s unlikely that fans have anything to worry about, with Southampton seemingly holding all of the cards. Shaw signed a five-year contract on his 18th birthday last year and, as first-choice left-back for Saints, is guaranteed Premier League football as long as he is fit. European football is the only carrot another club could tempt young Shaw with, but realistically at this stage of his career, would he be first choice at those teams anyway?
So where should Southampton strengthen?
The start of the season proved just how good Saints are with a fully fit squad. As the months have gone on injuries to key players have highlighted a lack of quality beyond the first eleven, no more noticeably than at the heart of the defence and in goal.
Losing Victor Wanyama to a leg injury wouldn’t have been so bad had goalkeeper Artur Boruc not picked up a hand injury around the same time. Whilst a new goalkeeper might be on Mauricio Pochettino’s summer shopping list, it isn’t his priority for January. His priority must be to sign another central defender.
Signing Dejan Lovren last summer was a fantastic piece of business for Southampton and he has helped to raise the game of José Fonte alongside him. But when either of those two are injured or suspended, their replacements just don’t seem as strong. Maya Yoshida and Jos Hooiveld did very well for Saints last season when they were getting more game time, but the introduction of Lovren has raised the standard.
Italian central defender Davide Astori – who plays for Serie A side Cagliari – continues to be linked with the club. Whether he is the man for Southampton or not, they do need to sign someone who plays in his position.