Saints January Transfer Window Needs To Concentrate On One Area Only !
Wednesday, 11th Dec 2019 09:36
There are already news stories claiming that Saints are after forwards & midfielders, but the reality is that we need to concentrate on one position and one position only and that is the centre of defence.
Good football teams are built on a strong spine and the most important part of that spine is the centre of defence, good central defenders control everything, they are the rock of the team and they can win the ball and start attacks.
It doesn't matter what level of football, good sides are built with strong centre backs, the last decade starting in 2009/10 season saw us build in that area and the arrival of Jose Fonte was the rock in which we built our promotion season's back to the Premier League.
Fonte was our ever present and we struggled in our first season back because we failed to find a good partner for him, Jos Hooiveld could not make the step up and the signing of Maya Yoshida brought mixed results.
But the start of our glory period was the arrival of Dejan Lovren and the fact that Jose Fonte kept going, even when I predicted that he wouldn't, after Lovren Fonte partnered Toby Alderweireld and then Virgil Van Dijk and success followed.
But it all went wrong when Fonte got too big for his boots and wanted a big move and Van Dijk got injured and then wanted away, since that time we have never replaced them with payers truly up to the job.
Perhaps one or two of the central defenders we have had since 2017 could do a job with a decent partner and we could put Jan Bednarek in that category, but the truth is his career is never going to blossom until he plays alongside a man who is experienced at the top level and more to the point good enough for the Premier League and from the four candidates we have for central defence at the moment, Bednarek is the only one who is good enough and that is damning on our recruitment policy.
I said this three years ago back in January 2017 and back then few listened and told me that Jack Stephens would play for England and Yoshida was quality, I disagreed and pointed out countless mistakes but was just accused of having something against them, that they were good club men, well good club men are usually good club men for one reason and that is no one else has wanted them. I have never had anything against any of them apart from the fact that they are not good enough at this level.
Our woes this season are very much based on a failure to defend, some talk of missed chances, but no team scores all it's chances and that is not the problem, the issue is at the back and our continuing habit of gifting soft goals, in our last 3 away games we have conceded 3 goals in the final minutes of the game and each one of them has been an error, the keeper has cost us 2 of them and Ryan Bertrand's awful attempted header and failure to mark his man at Arsenal the third.
Just those three games would now see us in 14th place, 4 points above the relegation zone.
But it doesn't stop there, virtually every game sees a soft goal conceded and points thrown away.
I will say it again we are not a bad side, we are a good side with a poor central defence and that is the crux of the whole problem, we sort out this and not only will we be able to win more games, but it will see improvement in all areas, the midfield won't have to sit back to try and protect the back four from counter attack, we will be able to counter attack ourselves more by getting possession fro set pieces and picking passes rather than picking the ball out of the net.
So this January we need to make sure we do not make the mistakes of the last 6 yes 6 transfer windows and we bring in someone who is experienced, forget the up and coming and potential, it has to be experienced and proven.
We bring one in and we will see improvement, Jan Bednarek will definitely benefit and so may Jack Stephens, the goalkeepers will improve as they will not be exposed more, but if we follow the pattern of the last 6 transfer windows and we are stuffed.
Hopefully now with Matt Crocker at the club we have a fresh face who knows what he is doing and who will see the issues and deal with them, certainly in the last 6 windows we have had people who have stuck purely to the blueprint of young and up and coming and this has been our downfall.
Every team needs balance, it needs youngsters, but if that is the case it also needs old heads who steer them on, that has always been the Southampton Way that is often quoted, for every team that had it's youngsters there was always an old head brought in.
Ted Bates had Jimmy Melia and Jimmy Gabriel, Lawrie McMenemy brought in countless old heads, be it Chris Nicholl, Jimmy Case or Dave Watson and the pattern continued right through till 3 years ago when suddenly under Ross Wilson we seemed to look for one type of player and one type only and that was young and up and coming.
Apart from Jeremy ied and Martin Caceres two free transfers under Puel who barely played, the last time we signed anyone older than 25 was in the summer of 2014 and the 27 year old Shane Long and just turning 29 Graziano Pelle.
Aside from those two literally the only signing over 25 has been Steve Davis.
This is telling us something and it is not good.
So in January forget the other areas of the team we are strong enough in them, concentrate on the one area that has been neglected and the one area that really matters and that is Central Defence.
Photo: Action Images
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