Saints Will Be Wheeling And Dealing This Summer
Wednesday, 3rd Jul 2019 09:18
Having used 30 players in the Premier League last season, it is no surprise that Saints will be looking to trim their squad this summer and not just to raise money for transfer fees.
Saints have a squad that is far too large and more to the point has been top heavy in some areas whilst light in others, two areas where it has more bodies than needed are the in central defence and in the centre of midfield therefore it is no surprise that the latest two players to be linked with a transfer are Jack Stephens and Mario Lemina.
Some will harp on that Saints have to sell before they can buy, that is not quite true, in that although yes it is a well known fact that the club runs as a business and therefore looks to break even in transfers, that does not necessarily mean in each individual transfer window but overall.
They started this summer transfer window in profit, in that the Danny Ings fee was technically coming out of the money received in January 2018 for Virgil Van Dijk and in last seasons figures, add to that the £12 million taken in back in January for Manolo Gabbiadini and it meant that we started the window with that £12 million in the bank.
That money was used to buy Moussa Djenepo, so with Matt Targett's fee being used to bring in Che Adams, it has been a good start to the window so far in that we are at a break even point in terms of the transfer kitty, but we are one player up from the end of last season.
So do Saints need to sell before they can buy another player ?
The truthful answer is no, if the right player comes along then they can use funds from other areas to secure the signing rather than have to wait till someone is sold and lose out, but overall they do need to make up the money at some point.
Football clubs outside of the big six have to wheel and deal and that means juggling the finances and also using borrowing facilities secured against future guaranteed income from the Premier League , so Saints could buy a player now and borrow money but repay it in January when another tranche of cash is available.
So those who claim that Saints can't buy till the have sold another player don't really understand the way things work.
But the reality is that we do have to sell not just for transfer fees but to get the wage bill down and also to free up places in the squad.
In the centre of defence we currently have five players on the books who have been regulars over the past couple of years, Hoedt, Vestergaard, Yoshida, Stephens & Bednarek.
To be blunt just about the only one that most can agree about is Jan Bednarek, so that means that any of the other 4 could potentially leave.
Jannik Vestergaard having only been signed last season and having had a reasonable second half is likely to stay, but if we are to bring in another central defender perhaps even two, then I would say a minimum of two have to go.
Wesley Hoedt is the one that would raise the most money and he would seem the most likely to leave given that he went out on loan only weeks after the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl, but he is now back and working under the Austrian, so it is not a foregone conclusion.
Hoedt's prompt departure without playing a game seemed to suggest that there was something going on behind the scenes that we did not know about, the question is whether the recent change in the coaching set up will alter anything.
I would expect Hoedt to go here and Jack Stephens although how much of the rumour that Aston Villa want to sign him is agents talk is yet to be revealed.
Certainly though we have to sell two central defenders and look to the future rather than the past and Bednarek aside it could be any two of the other 4.
In the centre of midfield we are again top heavy, hence we know we need to sell and we know that at least one class player will go, we have 6 players for 3 positions and others who can play wide or central, so if Mario Lemina goes it will be no surprise.
So judging on this weeks rumour mill if we where to sell Wesley Hoedt, Jack Stephens and Mario Lemina, then we would be likely to bring in a combined fee of around £35 million at a conservative estimate.
Add to that we could probably expect to bring in another £25 million if we sold Charlie Austin, Cedric Soares and Alex McCarthy, then £60 million gives us a lot to play with.
What seems to have emerged over the last week or so is that after the sale of Matt Targett that the above six are perhaps the most likely to leave.
Saints seem to be reverting to the strategy that worked so well in the past, that is finding the players who are breaking through, young and hungry rather than go for those with a reputation and with that comes a price increase perhaps not justified.
Therefore £60 million could bring in at least 2 players with some spare change for January of perhaps even 3.
Then the wheeling and dealing would truly start, if the 6 players were sold then another 2 or 3 could follow, if we signed two central defenders then that would leave Maya Yoshida as 5th choice central defender, he only played 17 games last season, only 4 more than Hoedt whose Saints season finished in November.
Yes some games were due to him being away on International duty, but that was only 4 games he missed, turning 31 next month and with only a year left on his contract, if someone comes in I would expect him to go.
I have said this before but I think that we still have 13 players at the club who we would accept a bid on, this doesn't mean they would all go, but for one reason or another we would probably look to sell 8-9 of those 13 given the chance.
Sounds a lot but as I said we played 30 in the Premier League last season, if we sold 10 this window and bought another 3 to add to the 2 new additions so far, then we still have a squad of 25 not including a few promising youngsters who did not feature last season but could well get a game this such as Jake Vokins or Christoph Klarer.
This highlights just how overstocked the squad is and how much flotsam and jetsam we need to jetison.
So the revolving doors at St Mary's will be very busy in the next five weeks, there may be a few favourites leave, a pantomime villains stay, a few surprises , but overall there is a strategy in place and a determination in every area of the club that has for one reason or another been missing in the past couple of years.
Photo: Action Images
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