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It Is Not All About Youth ! Saints Need Experience In The Transfer Market
Friday, 25th Sep 2020 08:57

Over the past few years Saints transfer strategy has been very rigid, but every team needs balance and we have a glaring deficiency in the centre of our defence that can only be fixed by an experience.

It is fine to pursue a transfer policy that looks to identify and buy good young up and coming players and turn them into world beaters, but every pupil needs a teacher and when it comes to the centre of our defence we are learning nothing and continue to make the same old mistakes.

I have been banging on about it for four years and perhaps now some will now start to sit up and listen, the way that Crystal Palace, Brentford and Spurs banged 8 goals past us in only 3 games is totally unacceptable, if you were happy with the way these goals were scored and feel that most other Premier League defences would have let all of these goals in, then there is no need to read on, skip to the bottom of the page and tell me that I just have something against Jack Stephens etc. Put bluntly VAR has been our best defender so far this season, it has rescued us fro what would have been much worse defeats.

I love Ralph Hasenhuttl as a manager but he has to get a grip of the situation, he has to break the transfer policy mould and get someone in who is a leader, not just for their playing capabilities, but for their ability to "teach" those around them.

Look back over Saints historywould Mark Wright have been so good if he didn't have Chris Nicholl to show him the ropes, Claus Lundekvam became the mentor for the likes of Michael Svensson & Dean Richards, Jose Fonte taught Toby Alderweireld and Virgil Van Dyke what was needed in the Premier League.

I am sorry but based on performances in the last four years our current central defenders are not fit to lick the boots of those names I have mentioned and I could add a few more.

Mo Salisu comes to the club with a good reputation, but at 21 he is not the leader we need, he will fail to develop unless we teach him, The Southampton Way is not just about buying good players it is about educating them as well.

It is time to stop the rot, get a grip of the situation and accept that the answer is not currently at the club.

Every great Saints team had a balance of youth and experience, not just in the centre of defence but in other areas, Alan Ball and Jimmy Case were past 30 when they arrived but they were the glue that held the team together and I would say in recent times Steve Davis did the same.

But the urgent need now is to get in someone who knows how to hold a back line together.

But the problem lies a lot deeper than on the pitch, I would say we do not have a coaching staff that can teach our defenders to defend, Kelvin Davis was a club stalwart, but his Premier League experience was sporadic for us and he is not an outfield player, that cannot be a help eiither, we need a defensive coach.

So this transfer window may define Ralph Hasenhuttl at Saints, he has a glaring defieciency in his team, if he fails to deal with it we will truly struggle, like last season we may be able to bail ourselves out by outscoring a few teams, but we will get caught out as many times as we do that and if we want to keep the likes of Danny Ings at the club then we have to do so, he will soon want away if every time he scores he sees that undone by schoolboy defending at the back.

So the task for Ralph is clear, I truly hope he will deal with it now !

Photo: Action Images

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highfield49 added 09:31 - Sep 25
Yes Nick, it's a valid point about experienced players, but it only works if the younger players are willing to listen and are capable of learning. For me there's not much evidence that some of our players have the capacity to raise their game further even with top level coaching. Looking at the match report for the Spurs game in Europe, I know I don't know why I was reading it either, I was drawn to the fact that Joe Hart was making his presence felt by his vocal ordering of the defence. Is this the factor that we are missing? I'm not aware of McCarthy, Forster or Gunn having either the capacity or respect of the outfield players to take any notice of their presence. Rather than investing in a crusty, injury prone, dog slow central defender perhaps we should be looking at a keeper who takes no prisoners and doesn't suffer fools gladly?

arthurfane added 10:00 - Sep 25
Sorry, I'm confused - is that meant to say Hugo Lloris, or are you saying Joe Hart (sub) was marching around on the side line barking orders/instructions?

arthurfane added 10:02 - Sep 25
Apologies, see this was about the European game, not our game against Spurs.

HythePeer added 10:29 - Sep 25
It won't matter who is brought in if they are continued to be instructed by management to play suicide football.

IWOZTHERE added 12:13 - Sep 25
Excellent article.... I could have written that myself almost word for word.
From the time it was obvious Hoedt wasn't working out, successive managers have not recognised that every one of our C/Bs needed an experienced hand to prompt them, guide and teach them.
We wasted £35m ish on Hoedt and Vester, only now to realise that we are no better off than we were when we played Stephens and Yosh. All that money and all those points thrown away!
Ralph hss been a party to this with his silly 'no-one over 24' fixation. This is one area where experience is a must!

schatfield added 14:27 - Sep 25
You have blinkers on when you think back to Claus Lundekvam - he was a god awful defender. Fonte was a car crash always waiting to happen and a reason we gave away so many penalties. I am not sure either was a mentor to anyway, just cos they stuck around Saints for long enough doesnt make them great.

Butty101 added 15:25 - Sep 25
Im incline to agree with schatfield. Claus was abit of a liability. Had he been decent he wouldnt have spent most of his career with saints.

underweststand added 14:39 - Sep 26
The worst club decision in recent years was not selling Van Dijk, but letting Fonte leave.
He was still playing regular games in CL and the French League...at age 36.

He partnered half a dozen CB's during his time with Saints and we benefited greatly.

underweststand added 14:43 - Sep 26
NOTE to IWOZTHERE....AGREED .not only the £35 million fees, but - even at £50K /week - their contracts would have set us back - another £20 million.

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