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Saints Indicate Intentions For Next Season
Saturday, 8th Feb 2020 11:01

With the safe from relegation finishing line firmly within Saints sights, the club are now ready to start to think about next season and according to one of the club's preferred media outlets there is a lot of business to be done.

Saints are about to start the rebuilding for next season with the arrival of new Director Of Football Matt Crocker meaning things can now start in earnest.

According to the Telegraph first job is a new contract for Ralph Hasenhuttl whose current deal is due to run out in July 2021, Saints kept faith with the Austrian earlier in the season when things went a little pear shaped and they have always seen them as the man for the job and now they are about to recognise that by offering him a new deal.

Second task will be to decide who is staying and who is going, Pierre Emile Hojbjerg will have a year left on his deal in the summer and it is believed that there is a Gentleman's agreement in place for a new contract once Saints fate for next season is confirmed, certainly Hojbjerg indicated that he is happy to stay at the club if they are in the Premier League earlier in the week when he replied to a club tweet congratulating him on playing 100 Premier League games for the club, by saying "Here's to the next 100 let's get it done".

Shane Long is another and his contract is up in the summer, he has been a vital cog in our revival this season and he could well be offered another deal although it would likely to be only a 1 year extension.

But departures will be high on Saints agenda as they hope to try and rectify the mistakes of previous transfer windows, the Telegraph suggest that Wesley Hoedt, Mario Lemina, Guido Carrillo & Moussa Elyounoussi are four whom the club want to move on.

The problem has been the high salaries they are on and the length of the contract's, but with another year run down on them the club will hope they can get all four out on permanent transfers, although this may not be possible.

The club will hope that they will be able to get back some of the significant original outlay for these players, although a loss will be unavoidable, but the main job is to get some cash in and reduce the wage bill and free up money for new signings both in terms of fee's and wages.

Then comes the job of looking at the rest of the squad itself including others out on loan at the moment and this could see some former crowd favourites move on, both the club and Harrison Reed will now both accept that he will not make it at St Mary's and at 25 he needs to be finding a regular club.

That has proved difficult as he is on a higher salary at Saints than he can command elsewhere, so his preference has been loan deals with the hope that he might do enough to make the Saints manager sit up and take notice, but that hasn't happened, indeed in his career with Saints he has started only 6 Premier League games under a total of 6 different managers and his last start for the club came in December 2016 and since that game his only League action has been 5 mins as sub in April 2017, sadly his time at the club is up as is his contract and he will move on and best of luck to him for the future.

Fraser Forster is another who the club would be happy to see leave, but his contract still has two years left on it, but the hope is that a deal could be struck with a club where the transfer fee would allow Saints to effectively buy out the remainder of his contract and get his wages off the pay roll.

Other squad players who could be sold include Oriol Romeu, Jannik Vestergaard and Sofiane Boufal.

The aim for Saints is simple, to trim the squad, therefore raising some transfer funds and getting wages off of the books to enable them to bring in players in key areas.

The feeling is that the squad is top heavy in some departments and short in others, going forward we are a top ten side but defensively we are bottom 2 perhaps even Championship, even after all of the above players that we want to move on have gone we will still have a strong squad, we now just need to bring in 2 maybe 3 players in those key areas.

The club has made mistakes over the past three years, but those in charge who sanctioned those mistakes are now gone, things are not perfect in the corridors of St Mary's but they are getting better and the arrival of Matt Crocker will bring in a new direction and some focus.

If the club can do all of these things then the future can be bright and then the next job for the club will be to re engage with the Saints supporters, the relationship being at an all time low.

Photo: Action Images

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saintmark1976 added 12:47 - Feb 8
Interesting how you have mixed in your own personal views with those of the Telegraph reporter Nick. To be honest the only part of the piece with which I can agree is when you correctly say that the relationship between the club and it's supporters is at an all time low. The rest is just pure speculation with no previous evidence from the owners or management to back up their supposed intentions.Personally I would prefer the club to concentrate one hundred percent on avoiding relegation which at the moment is by no means certain.

A1079 added 13:50 - Feb 8
Ok, as I have said previously, I am a pessimist when it comes to forecasting my teams fortunes, but I have seen even the most optimistic take an almighty fall, when they think, that all they have to do, is turn up. I am hating the fact that there is a alot of talk of being near the finishing line, all but safe, etc, etc. Even Ralph said it this week suggesting that 36 points will suffice. I am just not getting it.

In my view, we should be aiming for as high a position as possible, especially as the higher you finish, the greater the pay out at the end of the season, and given how tight we are on money, I would have thought every penny would count.

Secondly, we are far from safe with the way points are being distributed. What if, we fail to win against the likes of Burnley, Norwich, Newcastle, Villa etc? Don't tell me that isn't possible, because it is just as possible as winning them. Our home record is still poor and as we have seen, the penchant for conceding goals especially in the last quarter of a game remains high (as well as not taking our chances in the early part of games). Then what if it comes down to goal difference - that is not a pretty picture for us.

We cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal and we should be aiming for more than just scraping by. Yes, we should be thinking about what our vision and strategy is for the close season and beyond, but please, don't count your chickens before they are hatched. We aren't there yet. Minimum of 41 points in my view is a must. I recall Sheffield Wed once going into their final game believing they were safe and came off at the end and found out they had been relegated because of an unexpected turn of results. We are playing some good football and I am enjoying the ride again, but please don't put the brakes on just yet - it is dangerous talk, even by Ralph.

oldman65 added 15:32 - Feb 8
OK I know I don't write on here very much but just got to how fed up I am about those negative posts true we are not safe YET!!!! I accept that but we are playing good football at the moment it just seems to me some of you guys just love to be negatives, not the positives. I know I am going to be slated over this post but I just to say something. I have supported the Saints for a long time about 60yrs now it is bloody hard work I know supporting the Saints, but can we support the Saints more and stop slagging the players and backroom staff so much.C.O.Y.S

KohSamuiSaints added 16:39 - Feb 8
Hi all true Saints Fans
I put my hand up and admit I thought Mario Lamina leaving and not giving Corrilo a proper run was a mistake . But at that time we were sat in the bottom 3 and big dark clouds were hanging over us .
Loosing 0-9 at home to Leicester ( when I live in Thailand ) was so embarrassing , I had had enough and thought we were going down already .
But Ralph has changed things around and I admit watching Saints play how we are at the moment is great ( well at least for 80 minutes )
I posted at the start of the season that we should of signed Gary Cahill , and even made a cheeky attempt to sign Eden Dzeko ...this striker still wants to prove himself in the premiership and he could of proved just how good he was in England ...
But the Board know that they have to change there thinking of what’s best for our club .... as they were the problem not the team ....
Let’s hope we do get some new good signings in the summer and start our season like teams like Leicester,Sheffield Utd and Wolves have done where the word relegation have not been mentioned to them this season ... COYS

underweststand added 17:06 - Feb 8
to ..old man 65....I agree with you . As a Saints fan since 1959...I find all this negative criticism to be positvely offensive. (Yes - we are all entitled to an opinion) but we follow Saints through thick and thin, and those who don't realise the limitation of being "one of the "other 14 clubs" in the Prem. should acept that - or go and support Liverpool...who it seems NEVER lose games.

But onto Nick's article. YES we need to cut back, and (sadly) those like Harrison Reed and in his generation, who never made it deserve a chance to make a career elsewhere.
The four loanees mentioned (we all know their names) cost the club a lot of money which we are never likley to see back. A 60K /week salary equates to +/- £3 million year which means we are committed to honouring long contracts to players who (with hindsight) ought never to have been bought. We can cry over spilt milk, but now we must try and get some of it " back in the bottle" and invest in new players who can help us.
It is no coincidence that our "Fab Four" all came from another standard of Euro football and had no previous experience of the British game
It may mean us signing more British players in future as we do not know the outcome of work permits for EU-based players who, if signed, might not meet the required criteria.

When Ronald Koeman began as manager, he bought 8 new players in the first season , most of whom DAJFU in a big way. We can only hope to try and find the right talent who Ralph can galvanise into a winning team next season.
In all honesty I don't expect Euro football straight away, but getting past the first 8 games without having to look up at all the other teams in the Prem. would be a good start.


A1079 added 18:45 - Feb 8
I am not sure whether Oldman and Underwestand comments are a response to mine - fair enough if they are, but just to qualify, the only criticism/point I was trying to make was that I think to just keep pointing to the 36 points as the safety margin is in my view dangerous. It may be enough, but at this stage, I don't think it is.

In respect of the changes etc that need to be made in the summer and starting that process now I am in full agreement with.

Peterx added 07:50 - Feb 9
Good teams are going to go down this year, lets push for 42 points as quickly as possible to make sure we are not one of them. Having said that the way we are playing right now I cant see us stumbling and all the games to the end of the season look winnable.

janecook added 11:08 - Feb 9
People say about finishing as high as possible in the league to get more money for the club but does it make any difference? All the extra money the club gets goes into the owners deep pockets. In the last 2 transfer windows all we have brought in are loan players. There was a thing Ranking Premier League owners by their wealth on Talksport yesterday and we ranked 9. Southampton – Gao Jisheng (£3.1bn)

highfield49 added 11:28 - Feb 9
As is usual on TUI there are, thankfully, lots of reasoned posts that generate sensible discussion. Certainly any complacency setting in now could see us back in the relegation places far too quickly and three points against Burnley will be a much needed buffer. As much as Peterx suggests that "all the games to the end of the season look winnable" we also know just how easily they can be lost as well. The fact that, since November, RH got the team to perform beyond any of our expectations and won matches we expected to lose or at best draw has given a bit of breathing space. Hopefully Matt Crocker can do the job that his predecessors messed up, clear out the dead wood and bring in some young talented players with development potential. With the benefit of hindsight the recruitment of the expensive buys now out on loan, plus others who haven't developed at all, was a gamble that went horribly wrong and failed. Extend RHs contract and give him some input over player recruitment and I think the future is bright.

wessexman added 12:37 - Feb 9
The relationship between fans and club face make or break over the summer. Arrogance and incompetence by now departed individuals who thought they had reinvented the wheel has seen us teetering on the brink since Koeman was hounded out. We have been very lucky there were club with a bigger death wish than ours over the last couple of seasons. We all know what needs doing and Ralph must be fully supported by the club. Failure to do so will send a clear message to the fanbase and god forbid Ralph walking out would spell disaster. We have been very lucky to have survived since Koeman departed but luck always runs out. Mr Gao must now show where he intends going with the club in the summer. One thing is certain should we just plod on in the same vein disaster will befall us. It is up to the powers to be at SFC. And for those who think a season in the Championship might do us good...think again

Stevebish added 16:34 - Feb 12
I do not understand where all the comments about the owners milking the club come from they have not added any debt to the club, if there is debt from the purchase they have taken that personally, and all profits made by the club have made have been left with the club to use. But as with Katherine it does not look as though extra funds will be coming from the owners so in the summer it is about getting rid of those that have not worked out for us and hopefully replacing them well in the positions that need strengthening.

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