Three out, Three in as Koeman shapes Saints squad for next term
All the Southampton talk this summer has been about players moving away from the club, with Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, (now both Liverpool) and Luke Shaw (Manchester United) having followed former boss Mauricio Pochettino out of the door.
Centre back Dejan Lovren and defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin have also been linked with moves away from the south coast club, with the former attracting the interest of Liverpool and the Frenchman flirting with Arsenal.
They do, however, have at least £55m to reinvest in new players. According to reports, Fraser Forster, who was on World Cup duty with England, is being lined up. New manager Ronald Koeman wants the Celtic goalie as his number one at St Mary’s, and a bid of around £8m is believed to be being prepared.
Virgil van Dijk, also of Celtic could be brought in to replace want-away defender Lovren, and the duo could form an effective partnership. Forster would re-establish his relationship with goalkeeping coach Dave Watson, who left Norwich City recently for the Saints.
At 11/8 to finish in the Premier League top 10 next year, those odds could plummet significantly once Southampton’s recruitment drive kicks in. Also thought to be on Koeman’s shortlist is 21-year-old Sunderland striker, Connor Wickham, although newly-promoted Leicester have shown interest. The price is understood to be £6m, but a bidding war could ensue if he becomes a major target for either club.
Southampton are quite light in the attacking department, having sold two of their best threats to the Reds. With striker Jay Rodriguez also injured, the need to bring in a proven forward has elements of urgency. Feyenoord’s Graziano Pelle was the original target for Koeman, however talks between the two clubs have stalled.
Nathan Redmond, who was unable to help keep club Norwich in the Premier League last season, is believed to be another target for £6m, however Stoke City are also interested. The England under-21 international winger would inject pace into the side, and help to give the Saints some width next term, possibly indicating a change in the style of play.