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Saints Set To Tweak Transfer Strategy !
Wednesday, 23rd Dec 2020 09:13

Saints are set to make a few tweaks to their transfer strategy after the success of Theo Walcott a signing that was way beyond the normal parameters that they set when signing a new player for the squad.

Over the past 7 years Saints transfer strategy has been fairly rigid, they look for a certain kind of player, the ideal signing will be in the 21-25 age group, some experience, usually in a European League, talent but yet to really develop it and a hunger to succeed.

Look at our last few signings, Kyle Walker Peters, Moussa Djenepo, Mohammed Salisu and Ibrahima Diallo, the latter two still not tried and trusted at Premier League level.

They seem to have completely ruled out signings of experienced players who have been there and done it.

Whilst this has achieved a degree of success, it has meant that we have not truly achieved levels we should have been capable of.

I'm not referring here to signings that have failed, but the fact that at times we have lacked a leader on the pitch, especially in the centre of the back four.

Even now we still lack that organisational brain in the team, James Ward Prowse leads by example and has grown into the job, but it has taken some time to do so.

But it seems that the signing on loan of Theo Walcott has marked a change in our transfer strategy, maybe it is the influence of Ralph Hasenhuttl, but suddenly we seem to have woken up to the fact that football sides need balance, young players need old heads to guide them and those old heads need young legs beside them.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has recently spoken about how well Theo has done:

"He loves it here, people love him here, and it is a good signing, definitely.

"It is always the same with older players that we must see how fit they are and see how much they can run, how professional they are.

"When you take these parameters for him then on every parameter he is on very nearly the highest level. He is very fit, he likes to run and he is a very big benefit for the team."

"I am very happy that he is comfortable here now and that he is happy to play for us and there is no reason why we should not think about keeping him longer,"

"Let us first go through the season, let's give him the chance to play and the chance to show up and the chance to play consistently at this level.

"But there is no reason why we should not keep him here longer with us."

The message seems to be that too much emphasis has been given to age in the past and this has cost us in terms of leadership and balance on the pitch, but now age is not the biggest factor, it is the ability of a player to meet the parameters set.

This is good news, in hindsight our transfer strategy has worked but some still haven't grasped that the strategy is all about developing these players and selling them on and repeating the process.

But when you sell players on, they are often grown into the leaders of the side and when they go we are left rudderless again until a new leader has grown into the job and this can take a couple of years.

Now the recruitment policy may change slightly.

Saints policy of developing and selling is nothing new, the club has been doing it for over 60 years, Ted Bates, Lawrie McMenemy & Chris Nicholl were all managers who prospered in doing this, but all their teams had one thing in common, alongside youth and hungry talent transferred in, they also bought in experience, usually cheaply, sometimes even on free transfers and these players became mainstays of why we were successful.

Alan Ball & Jimmy Case were examples of this, two players who ruled Saints midfield between 1976 & 1991 al bar a couple of years in the early 80's between them, they weren't the best players, but they organised and lead the side, every side needs that sort of player.

Hopefully now Saints will take the blinkers off slightly, football teams need balance !

Photo: Action Images

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underweststand added 09:41 - Dec 23
First of many articles on transfers Nick, but I'm surprised that some other sites are craving us to sign Walcott NOW. Theo is on loan until summer when he is free from Everton. IF ..we were to sign him permanently in January it'd cost us money we can ill afford to spend, and by all accounts he's happy to be back so no panic.
Likewise the talk around Demari Gray (a player we were linked with before) would cost us some sort of fee - even if he only has 6 months left on his Leicester contract.

There is an obvious need for cover at full back, and an extra striker, as without a "regular" Danny Ings, Che Adams will suffer from being the "lone striker" up front as Tella and N'Lundulu have only just got the feet in the dressing room and still have a way to go.

We are continually linked with various European players, but IMHO we ought to pursue more "British" players who are familiar with the Prem. and can adapt to Ralph's style of play. It has been difficult for Salisu to even get on the bench, but I think part of the delay may have been adapting to Saints " total football " concept and the ability to last out 95 minutes every game.
However, as usual - we may end up buying a player who few of us have ever heard of.

derbydog added 11:40 - Dec 23
No, I don’t think so. You have a strategy and keep to it. Except when a one-off opportunity comes such as Walcott, a known quantity to Saints available free of transfer charge and with half his wages paid. Then you react with flexibility.

That doesn’t mean you go out for say Welbeck or Cahill, which I have seen advocated in this website in the past, because they lack all of our strategic criteria except arguably balance.

At centre back for instance, we used the Van Dyck money, or in one case I think the prospect of VVD money to get Hoedt, Vestergard and Bednarek with probably still enough money in the bank for Salisu. Two out of three coming good is not bad, with some games out of Hoedt and the promise presumably of Salisu to come.

As for up front, Obafaemi, Tella and Dan just manage to get past Long and then we sign sn experienced striker? Whst does that do to our famed academy?

Stick withe strategy but be asking why we haven’t developed our own first team centre back since Stephens...

SonicBoom added 13:04 - Dec 23
If you are going to sign a specific profile of player then you better make sure that profile works and frankly ours hasn't.
We've had too many misses recently. Even Djenepo isn't a guaranteed starter, and we have Diallo and Salisu who cost good money but have barely had a kick. Contrast with Theo who went straight into the side and stayed there.

abingdonsaint added 13:33 - Dec 23
I don’t think we are, nor should we in my opinion. As far as I can see, Ralph’s comments relate specifically to Walcott rather than any wider change of policy.

schatfield added 16:15 - Dec 23
Dont get excited Nick, we did a one off with Walcott, but we are not going to go out and buy the likes of your favoured one, the v slow Cahill. Our championship defenders are doing just fine.

underweststand added 17:06 - Dec 23
I don't totally disagree with " derby dog"s comments but IF Tella or N'Lundulu wade in with some goals in the next month it may ease the situation up front, but IF we have to consider we might be without Ings for a number of games or there is a serious injury problem elsewhere we can't look to Long for anything other than fast raids down the wing but without any goals at the end of it.
We can't rely on Che and Danny to be our 95 minute-a game strike force...without interruption from now until the summer ..we need an established striker who knows the Prem. to be able to give them some relief ..that's if we are serious about finishing top 5.

abingdonsaint added 18:11 - Dec 23
Diallo will play at Fulham, and Ralph has already said that Salisu is a longer term project. We have a very specific style of play and I think the feeling is that ‘more experienced’ players have generally got into habits that do not suit us. Walcott is the exception rather than the rule. I remember similar comments about KWP but look at him now. Patience! In Ralph we trust....

WestSussexSaint added 20:02 - Dec 23
Perhaps the strategy is to sign ex players who left us on the up to go to a bigger club and then have subsequently declined. Plenty to choose from........

GeordieSaint added 09:53 - Dec 24
Hopefully they will use the loan market for an experienced central midfielder. It is quite likely that at some point both JWP and Romeu will be out at the same time due to suspension and injury. Have we even got ten premier league starts beyond that? Probably Calum slattery is our next most experienced midfielder. I’ve not posted on here in a while but got to say what an amazing year from a football perspective, what a job Ralph has done.

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