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Saints After A Player Called Saints !
Sunday, 1st Jul 2018 10:01

It is not often that a football player has the same surname as the team he plays for, but that could soon be happening at St Mary's, but what does that mean for our current central defenders.

Saints are being linked with a move for Barcelona's Brazillian central defender Marlon Santos and as anyone with basic Spanish or for that matter Portugese will tell you, in those languages Santos translates to Saints.

So it could well be Saints to Saints if the rumoured £10 million bid lodged by Saints ia accepted.

After starting off with Fluminese in his native Brazil Santos moved to Barcelona on a season long loan in the summer of 2016 although he was in the main part of the B squad and played only a handful of games for the main team.

In 2017 he was loaned to Nice on a two season deal, but that now looks set to be cut short if Saints bid is accepted.

He is a ball playing central defender rather than a big stopper type of player and given the number of central defenders Saints are being linked with, the question is who will be surplus to requirements.

It seems that we are looking at two signings in this department, one an established and experienced player and another like Santos, one with potential, if we make those two signings though that will leave us very top heavy in options for the centre of defence.

At present we have four in Hoedt, Bednarek, Yoshida and Stephens, if we add two more that will be far too many and someone would surely have to go.

Even if Mark Hughes decides to play a back three, that still leaves three surplus to requirements so who will go ?

I would suggest that the two who will stay would be Hoedt and Bednarek, Hoedt suffered last season in that although he had experience he was still the youngest member of the central defence for much of the season, he should have been learning his trade in the Premier League alongside an experienced leader, yet too often he was left to lead the line, but as the season went on he showed that he has what it takes.

Likewise Bednarek, he came in at the tail end of the season and put in some good performances, I would suspect that those two along with two new signings would vie for the two/three positions available.

So this leaves question marks over the future of both Yoshida and Jack Stephens at St Mary's, neither have really shown that they have what it takes to be a truly top knotch defender at Premier League level, Yoshida a couple os years ago was pretty much fourth choice under Ronald Koeman and although his levels of commitment cannot be questioned, during most of his six seasons as a Saints player he has not really established himself as a first choice player, a good man to have in the squad yes ! week in week out starting line up no !

Jack Stephens is not a bad player, but I just don't think he is a central defender, his ability to carry the ball sometimes means he flatter to deceive, but he is not here to create, if he is the centre of defence he is there to defend and unfortunately he seem to lack ability to read the game and stay tight on his man.

He will turn 25 in January, he is no longer a promising youngster, however he might have a future as a holding midfield player, he has that ability to get the ball and carry it forward,the question is though is he good enough to do that week in week out in the top flight.

So I thnk the blueprint for Saints next season will be to have four player covering the central defensive positions, Hoedt and Bednarek from those at the club and they will be joined by an experienced player and a promising youngster.

This being the case if we get the signings we want, I would feel that one of either Stephens or Yoshida would go if not in August but in January, if it works out possibly both.

Yoshida has already said he wants to stay, that in some respects is good, however he is not one for the future, he seems content in the position as back up, he is probably on better money than he can get elsewhere and regular football does not seem to be his priority, if it had been he would have gone in the past five years when the various first choice partnerships of Lovren/Fonte/Alderweireld/VanDijk etc where never put under any pressure from him for their place.

One thing seems to be clear, Saints seem aware that they have to clear the decks a little and revamp the squad, they have remained loyal to those who have been at the club for a long time without truly being either first choice long term or the quality we need, there may need to be some harsh decisions in the coming weeks.

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Chesham_Saint added 10:43 - Jul 1
I always thought Wolves having a lumbering great player called De Wolf was rather good. Also a shame that Alan Sunderland never played in the North East and Mike England was Welsh...!

mgprobert added 11:20 - Jul 1
I agree 100% with the article - we still need that commanding experienced CB, but Marlon alongside sounds good. Also agree with the comments about Yoshida and Jack Stephens - great guys but not top half of the premier league quality. Pre season looking quite exciting though so far, lets see what the next week brings

helpineedsomebody added 11:20 - Jul 1
we cannot go into this season with out 2 new centre halfs if we cant/or dont get them then we will have the same problems as last season, yoshi &stephens have been making the same mistakes for the last 2 years . i can understand the club trying to give them a chance but niether one of them have taken it, also the last 2 seasons perhaps the owner never had the money to invest in the team but there are no excuses now the club have money available now please buy 2 defenders that can play in the top 10 of the epl

legod7 added 11:44 - Jul 1
Yoshida signed a 3 year contract extension last summer. So he has 2 years left of that to run. He loves it here whether in the first team or not so he will not be moved on.

perazi added 11:50 - Jul 1
Time you wrote an article about the deficiencies of Ward-Prowse rather than your historic rants directed at Yoshida, who incidentally is having a fine WC campaign. Hoedt and Bednarek are nothing special and we do need strengthening at CB but your long standing criticism of Yoshida have made many of your articles predictable parody pieces.

andywelsh added 11:54 - Jul 1
Yoshida is an excellent squad player and his pace would potentially make him a valuable member of a back three which we may play sometimes. Alongside a big commanding centre half and a ball playing centre half I can see his value.

redandwhitedee added 13:12 - Jul 1
Yoshida and Stephens are much better than Hoedt and bednarek. The end.

ericofarabia added 14:01 - Jul 1
Following on from Chesham's post .... there are a few of our ex players who could have moved onto clubs with their names!! Bobby Stokes, Gerry Forrest and Nile Ranger off the top of my head. Other non Saints include Ricky Villa and Gary Stanley. Of course with a name like Stephan Kuntz he would have been right at home with the locals at Skatesmuff

Scoot added 14:23 - Jul 1
I posted this yesterday on the forum with a video of him playing under the title rumour mill. Enjoy.

aceofthebase added 16:06 - Jul 1
Started your boring anti-Yoshi rants early Nick. Hoedt made more mistakes towards the end of the season and not as you dreamfully say.
Covering for a shortie right back was often the main problem in defence.

aceofthebase added 16:06 - Jul 1
Started your boring anti-Yoshi rants early Nick. Hoedt made more mistakes towards the end of the season and not as you dreamfully say.
Covering for a shortie right back was often the main problem in defence.

TeamCortese added 20:36 - Jul 1
I agree with perazi.

Nick, your endless bashing of Yoshida is definitely a broken record and if I'm honest it's becoming more and more difficult to take you seriously. Your obsession with our defence is very strange given our problems in front of goal.

Simply put, if you look at the season-by-season breakdown of goals scored and the goals conceded below you'll find a huge downtick of 22 goals after the 15/16 season compared to 17/18 (for goals scored).

Similarly when we look at the goals conceded there is an uptick from 14/15 season with higher deviations after 15/16 but not to same degree as goals scored.

Goals scored is clearly more significant than goals conceded because that's how football matches are won. It doesn't matter how good your defence is if you don't score more goals than your opponent you don't win games and maximise points.

Theoretically if you don't concede any goals and you don't score any goals you have 38 points. However, if you're on average conceding two goals a game but also scoring three goals a game you're most likely to have more than 38 points. If you think I'm talking nonsense then look at Leicester and Everton. Both teams conceded more goals than us but scored more goals yet still managed to finish 9 and 10 positions ahead of us.

Yes, Burnley scored less goals than us and finished ahead of Leicester and Everton but that was simply because their defence was as good as a top 4 team. Regardless they still needed to score goals to win their matches and they could have challenged for a champions league spot with better attackers!

We also shouldn't underestimate the importance of our defensive midfield pairings. I still feel Romeu, Lemina and Hojbjerg have a long way to go from matching Wanyama and Morgan. That defensive midfield pairing certainly helped Fonte/Toby partnership and to a lesser degree (after Morgan's departure) Fonte/VVD.

It's just common sense!

Goals Scored

14/15 - 54
15/16 - 59 (Mane and Pelle are sold)
16/17 - 41
17/18 - 37

Goals conceded

14/15 - 33 (Had Toby )
15/16 - 41 (Had VVD playing to his best)
16/17 - 48 (Fonte's departure in Jan and VVD injured from Feb)
17/18 - 56 (Mismanagement from Pellegrino, VVD departure and board cocked up the transfer windows)

In summary, the whole situation we find ourselves in stems from the board not being able to retain Ronald Koeman (for mysteries unknown) and not paying the money to sufficiently replace Pelle and Mane. Not to mention uninspiring managerial appointments.

Judging by our transfer activities this summer it seems to be a lot more proactive. So I'll remain positive for now!

Saidou added 21:25 - Jul 1
He is an instant No for me. We need a commanding central defender. But all he is right now is a work in progress. We need no more of that. What! £10million + add ons? Jannick Vestergaard is a much player. All signs are there that he is better than VVD. why not pay a few more quid to get him. Play 3 centerbacks 2 attackers and
challenge for top 6?

Jesus_02 added 22:51 - Jul 1
I don't know if I should be laughing or crying at this article. It may well be a sign of how we have sold all our decent players (obvs Cortese's fault for being too ambitious) but Yoshida is probably our best defender.

We know you hate Cortese and and align yourself with Reeds deep seated lack of confidence but give Yoshida a break and go back to blaming Guly

saintmark1976 added 22:52 - Jul 1
A valiant effort TeamCortese in attempting to cure Nick's obvious Yoshida prejudice and to educate him that goals win games. Many others have tried in the past and failed, but as they say "hope springs eternal". Having said that I accept that Nick, like the rest of us,is entitled to his opinion even if on this occasion I agree with you that he is completely wrong.

kenis added 07:54 - Jul 2
We are clearly going to play three at the back under Hughes, so we need a minimum of 5 CBs plus at least one wing back/full back who can come across. If we are selling Bert we need two signings. Where’s is the right back backup? Reed and Ward-Prowse?

SanMarco added 08:08 - Jul 2
I never feel that Nick is 'ranting' re Yoshi. The point is we need reinforcements at the back. If you write an article pointing that out then you have little choice but to point out existing deficiencies. To those who say Yoshi is our 'best defender' I ask the question: Are you happy with that? For me, how good Hoedt is going to turn out to be is more important. One thing most of us can agree on is that we need an experienced, good CB to be first choice next season. Whatever his name is this guy doesn't seem to fit the bill to me.

Good point about needing five kenis.

LoisDeem added 09:41 - Jul 2
He never played for Santos, then?
We have to trust our recruitment to do 'the maths', surely? If we intend to (even occasionally) play three 'central defenders' then we will need 'numbers' (six?) or more versatile defenders /defensive midfielders.
Warming to the other theme, Arsene would be manager of the aptly named team, although the Welshmen Mike England and Ian Rush (ia) would be going to the World Cup and Bale moving on to the Tractor Boys. Just Maya opinion, Nick!

BillWinchester added 20:55 - Jul 2
Andywelsh I agree, Yoshida gets a raw deal with fans, he has genuine pace, unlike anyone else in the middle, in a 3 at the back he'd be perfect. Why his errors are always the ones which people focus on is beyond me. Everyone who doesn't hide makes mistakes. We need a couple of good CBs good in the air, who can win ariel battles. Plus his temperament and loyalty, never gives less than 100%. wish all the rest of the squad had his traits. I for one am pleased he's signed for a couple more years.

helpineedsomebody added 21:15 - Jul 2
did you see fellini goal yoshi & his partner either side of him free header thats why we need a top top class centre back . but all credit to yoshi he did have a very good game but the bottom line is there out of the world cup why ran out of puff & bad marking.
next our turn, our only hope is harry kane
good luck england

mattthelegend added 21:43 - Jul 2
Would like to see the Danish lad signed, what’s the story with Hoedt and his instagram account any rumours?

TeamCortese added 22:53 - Jul 2
I don't mean to belabour my previous point but my goodness Nick has well and truly been debunked on his views of Yoshida. What is going on up there? 😂😂🤣😂😂


SaintBrock added 10:07 - Jul 3
After his outstandingly brilliant displays for Japan at the World Cup, will you get off his back once and for all Nick. You have been proved wrong on so many occasions that even you must realise you're barking up the wrong bloody tree.

In Maya we trust!

aceofthebase added 15:38 - Jul 3
Only a Championship player! Proved wrong again Nick

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