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Two More Signings Needed For Saints This Summer But Only One Is Crucial !
Wednesday, 27th Jul 2022 10:32

Saints have already brought in six players this summer, but there is still room in the squad for two more, Ralph Hasenhuttl has intimated that he will bring in another striker, but I would say that is not a priority it is still central defence.

Most Saints fans would say that signing another striker is a priority, but personally I don't think that is the case, with the arrival of Sékou Mara we find ourselves almost exactly as we were at the start of last season, we have two strikers in Che Adams & Adam Armstrong, plus a 20 year old striker with experience in a continental league but not in the Premier League, I said almost, a year ago we still had the back up of Shane long.

So ultimately to match last season we need Mara to get six Premier League goals, if he does that and the other two match their totals then we are maintaining the status quo.

But last season brought us goals from other areas and this season we perhaps have a better chance of that with Joe Aribo able to play in an attacking role.

Before anyone gets on their high horse, yes i would like to see another striker arrive and I believe that one will, but scoring goals was not our main issue last term, that was about conceding them.

In 2021/22 we scored 43 goals, that put us 13th in the Premier League top scoring list, but in the goals conceded column we were 17th with only Norwich, Watford & Leeds conceding more, two of whom were relegated.

Brighton who finished 9th scored 42 goals, that's one less than us, but they only conceded 44, that is a whopping 23 goals less than us and there is the issue.

Likewise Wolves in 10th place, they scored only 38 goals but let in only 43.

If we are to progress this season we have to do a lot more work in stopping goals going in than we do in scoring them.

Signing another forward could net us another 8-10 goals, but truthfully we need to bring in a defender who will shore up the defence and save us 12 goals, even that small difference would make a hell of a difference in our League position.

All the best Saints sides I have watched over the years have been built from the centre of defence, whether that was in 1983/84 and the Mark Wright era, 1990 with Neil Ruddock, the late 1990/00's with Claus Lundekvam or indeed 2013-17 when we had Jose Fonte anchoring the team with a succession of quality partners.

The most attractive years to watch the team were the Keegan era of 1980-82, but in those two seasons we were second top scorers in the first season and 3rd in the second, but we couldn't get above 6th, why ? because we shipped goals, 10th best defence in the first season and in the second although we were 3rd top scorers and finished 6th in the League only one team conceded more than us.

So the message is if you build a tight defence it makes it a lot easier in the other parts of the pitch, let in soft goals and you put pressure on your team, don't concede them and the pressure is on the opposition.

So if we are to kick on this term, if we only sign one more player it should not be a striker it should be a central defender and not another 19/20 year old protégé, but one that has been there and done it.

A leader and organiser with experience is what we want to see on their CV.

This will sound familiar, I have been saying it since February 2017 when Jose Fonte's departure and Van Dijk's injury cost us the League cup final, don't believe me watch the video of the three goals we conceded in the final and then point out where the marking and organisation was.

Since then we have had a little excuse for much of that, poor signings taking up wages and space aligned with the situation between China & the West meant there was little money to deal with the problem.

But that is not the case now.

It doesn't even need to be a major signing, there are players available now as free agents that could do a job, Ben Mee was one who we missed out on, but we do need someone with experience.

So there are no excuses now, if we want the likes of Mohammed Salisu and Bella- Kotchap to achieve their undoubted potential they need a mentor, they need a leader alongside them and they need someone who with years of experience behind them can read the game and organise them.

Jan Bednarek is not that man and I expect him to leave this summer, his body language in the pre season friendlies has not been good, he is however a good player, but he is not a leader of men.

Saints have a clear strategy now, but you have to have variety in the side, you stick a class of 19 year olds in a classroom at university you don't give them a few books and tell them to get on with it, you put a teacher in the room alongside it and the situation in the Saints team is no different.

All of those central defenders we have had over the last 40 years such as Mark Wright, Neil Ruddock, Dejan Lovren, Toby Alderweireld, Virgil Van Dijk etc all had two things in common, firstly they had the natural talent, secondly they had a mentor alongside them, someone who at that time was not as good as them anymore but who talked them through games and took them to the next level and the platform for better things.

I can't emphasise this enough , the issue last season was not scoring goals, although of course a few more would have been nice, but it was conceding them and literally every one of those goals conceded could have and should have been prevented.

So the next signing for Saints will be crucial, but I would be more pleased to see a good experienced central defender, looking back at last season, with a little more organisation we could easily have conceded 20 goals less, we won't sign a striker who will get us 20 goals more.

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felly1 added 11:09 - Jul 27
Can't see it happening. We've signed Kotchup, we have Salisu and two experienced 150 plus games centre backs in Bednerek and Stephens.
Lyanco and Simeu as back ups.
Ralph preferred to play 4222, that constantly left us exposed defensively we we gave the ball away upfield and we would be counter attacked.
In the ideal world we'd sign a top quality experienced CB but I don't think that's going to happen.
The Saints model is young talent played alongside with experienced but modest talent (cheaper).

Centurion added 11:10 - Jul 27
I agree Nick, we need a good seasoned CB. Someone who talks in the game, directs and reads the game. Comes from experience.
However, the same applies to the position of striker.
BOTH, are equally important.

StEdmund added 11:22 - Jul 27
Midfield is key in front of any defence, and this has hopefully been addressed. It was certainly a weakness last year, though one can hardly disagree with the need for an experienced CB. .... and of course signing Ronaldo!

IWOZTHERE added 11:33 - Jul 27
Agree about the CB. Been saying the same for just as long. I assume you mean Bednarek is NOT a leader of men?
Don't spurn the chance of the projected Delap money if it's available for another striker? We either need a 'top gun' or a class attacking mid. who will transform our pedantic midfield and chip in with goals. Is one of our new guys that man?

1teeminants added 11:40 - Jul 27
We need both Nick, another striker and another central defender. We don’t want to stagnate we need to push on so we need to score more and concede less. No one is interested in finishing 15 th place .We can do better than that .

stmichael added 12:18 - Jul 27
Phil Jones type of player

ExiledSupporter added 12:21 - Jul 27
I think we need both an experienced CB and a proven striker ( 10 to 12 goals per season) who is of the scale to intimidate defenders in the box and able to play with his back to the opposition goal when necessary...a la Pele.

Dembele, Ihaneacho type perhaps; I would have welcomed the guy Burnley bought last year who had plenty of goals to his name in European leagues, but they have now loaned to a Turkish club. OKay he scored just a single goal for Burnley, but he played a role of one lone striker for them with negligible support from midfield...but he worried defences and kept the ball effectively and laid it off well.
Promising youngsters are good but not enough to survive...I hope I'm wrong!

Both are vital, just one would be a serious setback

darkangelv2 added 12:28 - Jul 27
Unfortunately, i believe another CB was contingent on selling Bednarek. With no serious bids being made, i dont see a CB addition forthcoming.

I do believe another striker is key, however.

AndyC added 12:38 - Jul 27
Having a more potent attack can be it's own form of defence; i.e. part of the battle is to intimidate the opposition into thinking more about their own defence (using a Boxing analogy: you want your opposition NOT to think that they can walk through your punches).

Monksway added 15:10 - Jul 27
I think they've decided that a formation change rather than personnel is the answer. I think we will see a lot of Lavia holding in front of a back three with Romeu and JWP as more progressive midfielders. If Bednarek stays either home of Stephens will anchor the three centre backs.

derbydog added 15:23 - Jul 27
You’re not going to get your experienced centre back, I’ve been telling you that since you banged on about Gary Cahill. It does not fit the business plan which is young and likely to increase in value. We deviated from that once, with Theo, and I don’t see us doing it again. Ben Mee would have got his transfer value built into his contract, so don’t think signing a fairly ordinary defender comes free.

Is Phil Jones going to be the new Gary Cahill in your writings?

underweststand added 16:57 - Jul 27
I think " a good striker " capable of giving defences the run around is vital. Shane Long didn't score a lot of goals, but he was a real pest to handle if you were an opposing CB.
Can't believe both Adams and Adam.A will still be with us this season ( sale / loan ?) but I 've never got over the secure feeling of having a Ron Davies, Beattie, Lambert, Pelle type striker up front, and I think we really need someone with a goal scoring record up front to be alongside the younger players when times get tough.

New CB (?) ..IF Bednarek goes, we should buy someone else to make up the numbers.
Last seasons defensive problems revolved around the lack of a good partnership at CB and successive injuries /poor form gave us little alternative to choose from.


Block8 added 20:11 - Jul 27
Can't see it unless we shift one or two.
What we really need is to ensure we cover our full backs when they bomb upfield. Playing three at the back should help this but only if one of the central midfielders drops deep enough to allow the centre back to separate and cover the space left behind the full backs.
A bit more pace in the back three will also help, hopefully Kotchap has that.
Yes we do need another striker!

wrathoftazz added 15:53 - Jul 28
We have Che who is useless and I can't even believe you used Striker and Armstrong in the same sentence..

We have only recruited young, inexperienced players in all departments. That's not going to cut it...

It also make no difference who we have in def if Ralph goes with McCarthy in goal... the more I watch him the more it reminds me of when my son played under 12s on a Sunday morning, watching a little kid in a big goal like a deer in headlights.

Bookies have Ralph 2nd highest to be sacked and Saints guaranteed relegation... need I say more and that's AFTER transfers... if they can see it, commentators can see it and normal fans can see it (obv not certain ones on here) then why on Earth can't the board and others see it.

Give it a week or so and the excuses will start..

Ring rust
Young team
Ralph doesn't know top team yet

The list goes on and on but the truth is and has been for the past 2 years, Ralph just isn't right for Southampton. He just isn't the man to take us forward and he should have been Sacked after the performances he has put in or even his decisions made so far.

I only hope that at the end of the season, when we are in the bottom 3 and down a league, the writer and supported of Ralph have the balls to admit they were wrong and take some accountability for not pushing for him to leave. Fans voices count and they have had their head so far up Ralph's butt, you couldn't hear them complain even if they wanted to

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