Southampton winter window transfer manifesto for season revival
Lee Gormley | December 14, 2015
Saints seeking solid reinforcements?
Last season under the guidance of Dutchman Ronald Koeman, Southampton secured a seventh-place finish, despite losing many of their former stars to Premier League rivals, but Coral football writers suggest what can be done to lift them from their current campaign stutters.
The Saints narrowly missed out on a European position, yet they were a surprise package nonetheless last term, having previously lost the likes of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren, but a minor domestic downfall has been endured this season.
Koeman’s south coast outfit have endured an indifferent campaign to date, meaning an active winter transfer window could occur in the New Year, when Southampton are 5/1 to seal a top six Premier League finish.
Retaining current crop of Saints stars
Obviously, the key aspect of the winter transfer window is to strengthen squads with new acquisitions but, with Southampton currently sitting just outside the top half of top-flight table and many stars attracting interest again, Koeman may see retaining his main players as a priority instead.
Despite dropping well off where they finished last campaign, the Saints have witnessed many impressive performances so far throughout their squad, but it’s these dazzling displays that could ultimately hurt them if some of the big guns come calling in January.
Wing wizard Sadio Mane is one who has caught the eye, with his emphatic wingplay and clinical eye for goal reportedly having alerted the attentions of Manchester United. Louis van Gaal recently claimed he desires speed demons in his wide areas, and the Senegal international wingman fits that bill perfectly.
Another is midfield enforcer Victor Wanyama, with the African anchorman seeing his bullish outings in the central areas attract Arsene Wenger, who may strong recruits in that department after a summer which saw only goalkeeper Petr Cech arrive in north London.
Meanwhile, James Ward-Prowse is a talented England prospect who undoubtedly has a bright future, but could it be in a career away from the south coast club? Italy international hitman Graziano Pelle has enjoyed another rampant run this term and Koeman will do well to fend off offers for his deadly marksman, if not in January, then definitely next summer.
Potential new arrivals at St Mary’s
If Koeman is to retain the services of all of the aforementioned players then the Dutchman will consider that a positive step for the Saints, but what players could he add to his squad to boost New Year prospects?
As speculation continued to surround former Celtic midfielder Wanyama, the south coast side were increasingly touted for a move for Porto lynchpin Giannelli Imbula. This talented central engine would be a either a direct replacement for Wanyama or a supremely solid midfield partner for him, in what would be a formidable central pairing in front of the defence.
The Belgium-born former France Under-21 would be a massive boost in the heart of midfield for Koeman, but the 24-year-old only signed for the Portuguese giants in July for a massive €20m and may be reluctant to switch again so soon.
In the rear guard, another former Bhoys star Virgil van Djik has performed strongly since a summer switch from Parkhead, but they have still been leaking goals domestically, which has contributed to such a slight fall form grace.
Attacking and defensive areas need boost
A hopeful bid for a former talent could reap some reward in January, with Calum Chambers potentially set to seek a move away from Arsenal, possibly on loan, in order to regain first-team action, having fallen down the pecking order under at Arsenal.
Loaning Chambers back to St Mary’s would benefit both parties, with the defender then gaining valuable Premier League minutes to help him in his Gunners career, while his former employers sure-up their backline for a top-half push.
With such a strong Dutch stronghold within the club, including their high-profile manager, Koeman may also use his homeland connections to snap up further talent form the Eredivisie. Ajax frontman Arkadiusz Milik has been linked heavily with a move away recently and is a genuine goal-threat which would help Pelle in attack.
Milik’s club teammate Anwar El Ghazi is one of the brightest prospects in Europe, with his superb abilities in the wide areas capable of causing trouble to any full back, and he is another that would strengthen Koeman’s set-up ahead of a long campaign ahead.
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