Saints Stronger After Transfer Window But Again Did Not Address Key Area
Tuesday, 6th Oct 2020 09:27
It has been a case of 7 out and 4 in during the International transfer window, but Saints again did not address a key area, can they do so in the second part of the window which sees them able to trade with EFL clubs.
Saints have seen 7 players out of last seasons first team squad depart the club for the coming season, Guido Carrillo, Harrison Reed, Pierre Emile Hojbjerg and Sofiane Boufal have all gone on permanent transfers, Wesley Hoedt & Mario Lemina have gone on loan and Maya Yoshida was released at the end of his contract.
To replace them Saints have brought in Kyle Walker Peters, Mohamed Salisu, Ibrahima Diallo & the prodigal son returning Theo Walcott.
On the face of it this has the potential to be a good window for Saints, in truth only Hojbjerg was a true regular last term, Boufal made a couple of contributions early in the season but was largely annonymous after the first month.
Yoshida aside who played little, Reed, Lemina, Hoedt & Carrillo all spent the season away from the club.
On paper all of the four new guys have the potential to be first team regulars, Walker-Peters already is, so from this perspective we are already equal and now we have to wait to see if Salisu & Diallo can be success's, likewise Theo Walcott, he is the one proven player at Premier League level, can we squeeze out one final swan song from him, if we can then he will be a cheap acquisition for just £4 million in wages.
My initial thoughts are that we lost just one first team regular who contributed but brought in four who can succeed,
One big plus though was the fact that we have got two big earners off the wage bill permanently, Boufal & Carrillo were costing us money, even if we had got them out on loan we would have had to subsidise their wages and when they returned in May they would have been eligible not just for those wages in full for July, but also a nice bonus if still at the club on the 1st of that month, not to mention we would have had to pay them for the month after their contract if they had not moved to another club during it, this probably tells you why so few transfers are done until August. Even Harrison Reed was on far more money than he could get with a permanent move to the Championship.
So from a financial perspective this window has been a triumph and now the squad looks far stronger on paper than it did this time last year.
But we still did not address the main issue and that is we still lack an organiser at the back and this will continue to be a big problem and to a lesser extent a goalkeeper.
But the window is not completely shut, we can still trade with EFL clubs for two weeks and I think we could definitely see some movement in this time.
The arrival of Walcott will impact on Michael Obafemi and I think he will be allowed out on loan to a Championship club, perhaps a short term loan till January to give him some game time, Walcott fills a gap in that Obafemi has talent but still lacks finesse and experience, that can only come from regular game time.
I would expect some other squad members to also depart, Josh Sims career at the club looks to be over, there are too many in the way of him now and not having played for 18 months in our first team I think he will go.
There are several others who will also be moved on, Jake Hesketh, Sam MQueen when fit & perhaps a few more, we have already pruned the B side with the departure of Christoph Klarer , Tom O'Connor & Alfie Jones etc, some permanently others on loan and there may be more to follow.
A Goalkeeper will be shedded, perhaps two, Angus Gunn is likely to go out on loan and if the mooted deal with Stoke City to bring Jack Butland in return happens then it could see Fraser Forster go somewhere too, or maybe even Alex McCarthy.
But the main area is centre back, yes we have four but at time of writing only Jan Bednarek can be considered a regular, he is the one constant, Vestergaard & Stephens have historically had the odd good game but are both error prone and Mo Salisu could be a revelation, not yet ready or another Kevin Danso, ie looks good in a European league but when we get him on a daily basis we don't like what we see.
Danso was more a panic buy than Salisu, so we would hope he will fit Ralph's plans better, but the worrying thing is that as we stand we do not have a bolted on proven central defensive partnership.
Maybe that can be addressed in the window, there are plenty of clubs out there in the Championship with central defenders who fit the bill and a blend of experience and quality.
Spurs are after Joe Roden of Swansea playing their old trick of offering peanuts and trying to force the deal through as the player is unsettled, they have offered £7 million, Swansea want £18, perhaps we could nip in although in truth he has little experience and we need an older head.
But I am sure there are older heads around in the Championship, we need a Jimmy Case style figure in our squad, albeit in central defence not midfield, someone who might have seen better days but who can still put in a performance and who can bring our defenders on.
So overall a good window for Saints, we have made progress and a step forward, in truth it was never going to be spectacular, we still had two many millstones around our neck financially when the window opened, but we have got rid of a few of them and that will give us more leeway in January and this time next year when we will hopefully get the final couple of our books.
Some Saints fans will not be happy, but we have taken steps forward and that is the good thing, Ralph Hasenhuttl is not about short term fixes he is about building long term stability.
He has done a good job so far !
Photo: Action Images
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