Five signings for new Southampton boss Ronald Koeman
Following the appointment of Ronald Koeman as Southampton’s new manager, Coral experts look at who this big name boss from Europe might attract to the south coast for next season.
The Saints are 9/1 shots to suffer relegation after perhaps punching above their weight this term, and a 33/1 outside shout of crashing the Premier League’s top four. Koeman has a great track record of bringing young talent through club academies, but kids alone will be unable to cover a widely anticipated exodus of stars from St Mary’s.
Here are five names we think would suit Southampton.
Attacking midfielder Immers was nothing if not consistent in two seasons at Feyenoord under Koeman. Since signing the 28-year-old from Den Haag, he has netted a dozen goals in successive campaigns.
Should Saints skipper Adam Lallana leave the club, Immers looks an ideal replacement to operate behind a new striker. Koeman is already believed to be anxious to secure his signature once again.
Virgil van Dijk
There is a well-trodden path from Celtic to Southampton, with current St Mary’s first-team trio Artur Boruc (via Fiorentina), Jos Hooiveld and Victor Wanyama all counting the Glasgow giants among their former club.
Young Dutch defender Van Dijk impressed at the back for the Bhoys, chipping in with five goals during the successful Scottish Premiership campaign that ended with silverware. At 22, this tall player is still developing into a huge talent, and would soften the blow should Dejan Lovren be lured away.
Koeman has made his intentions towards this Italian frontman, reportedly rated at £10m by current club Feyenoord, crystal clear. “I want to bring Pelle to my next club,” he said. “I would love to have him there, as he would be worth every penny.”
Pelle was prolific under Koeman in Rotterdam over the last two seasons, netting 50 Eredivisie goals in 57 games. Aged 28, he is now in his prime, and Saints supporters would warm to his all-round game which looks an ideal replacement for the departed Rickie Lambert on paper, provided he can make the step up.
Brought through from Ajax’s prodigious academy into the first-team by Koeman during his four years in charge of the Amsterdamn giants, Dutch stopper Stekelenburg needs another move to kickstart his career.
The move to Fulham from Roma last summer never really worked out. Injured on his Premier League debut, the 31-year-old went through three different managers at Craven Cottage, but Stekelenburg ultimately missed out on the World Cup finals because Felix Magath dropped him.
Polish goalie Boruc is Southampton’s current first-choice, but has a mistake in him. Backups Kelvin Davis and Paulo Gazzaniga are nearing the end and weak at crosses respectively. If Koeman wants to renew acquaintances with him, Stekelenburg would know that number one jersey is his for the taking.
If ever a Dutch player’s career has stalled and is stuck in a rut, then it is former PSV Eindhoven player Afellay. Under the aegis of Koeman, he won the Eredivisie in 2007 as a callow youth. A cut-price, but big move to Barcelona materialised in January 2011, but it has been a downward spiral since a La Liga and Champions League double at the end of that season.
Hugely talented and skilful, 28-year-old Afellay tried to rediscover himself during a loan spell at Bundesliga outfit Schalke in the second half of 2012/13. That didn’t work out, however, and back at Barca he made just two first-team appearances this term.
Southampton will be without attacker Jay Rodriguez in all probability for the rest of the calendar year, following a serious knee injury. Afellay, provided Koeman is able to land him for a similarly small fee that Barcelona paid PSV for his services, would definitely be worth a punt.