Transfers

Ronald Koeman: This summers most important deal

Since Ronald Koeman took over in June 2014, Southampton fans have been gifted their highest Premier League finish and shown some of the league’s most attractive football – but it was the raw and hard felt passion on show from Ronald Koeman against Liverpool, that has left me desperate for more.

With just a single year left on his contract, It’s already been revealed that the club have opened talks with Ronald Koeman about a new deal – but the Dutchman insists he won’t decide on his future until the summer.

My point, however, is that I don’t just want the club to enter negotiations, I want them to impress. I want the board and higher forces to match, or potentially even surpass the clear ambition held by Ronald Koeman. This is the moment for our club to make a statement and show others, that we shall no longer be stripped of our finest assets.

Rather than chop, change and replace, we have to ensure that we maintain and build. Koeman signing a new contract would certainly do just that, as I believe that he is the man to take our club forward, here’s why…

Over the previous two summer transfer windows, Koeman has been presented the task of replacing and recovering a side striped of their core. Yet through these grueling months, Koeman has managed to pick out some of the Premier Leagues finest bargains and push Southampton on as a club.

Teams such as Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea crumbled beneath themselves with the departures of Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale and Wilfried Bony. Yet little old Southampton managed to survive, and progress, with the loss of seven guaranteed starters over a 12 month period.

You have to wonder, that if Koeman can bring such success in a side that was predicted for failure, imagine what he could conjure up without any departures?

Secondly, and unsurprisingly after last weekend’s madness, it’s the passion and class of Ronald Koeman. This personality has allowed for a connection between Koeman and the fans, something we so desired after a season with Mauricio Pochettino.

Under the Argentinian boss, the fans chants and praise were never met by a response. Instead, he would keep his head down and place all focus on the game – or the next move as we soon found out.

We were left out in the cold by Pochettino, but his results and the side’s performances helped to mask his lack of desire to truly be part of the club.

With Koeman, however, it’s a different story. Every chant is applauded. Every result is for the fans. Failure to perform is failing the fans. And as for that celebration when Sadio Mane struck the back of the net against Liverpool, it needs no explanation.

Koeman has embraced our club and it allows the fans to feel like we’re all part of a family. The way a football club should feel.

From his attractive style of football, his appreciation for English talent and his intelligent integration of youth, Koeman’s principles are also spot on. In fact, they work as a perfect match alongside the philosophies of Southampton Football Club. Finding a manager who can successfully embed all three principles into a club, are not only placing English football in a positive light, but are also rare.

And finally, his loyalty. As fans, we always talk about the desire to have individuals who show loyalty and the hunger to want more with Southampton. In the past, we’ve had players throw their handbags, demand for transfers as if they were a god given right and leave the club with the attempt to poison every last crevice. But now, we have a manager who loves his job at Southampton and a manager who wants to achieve… with us. Koeman took on a job that papers were calling a “nightmare” and continued to keep his cool as he helplessly watched the big boys raid our club twice over. Yet still, Koeman has promised to see out the final year of his contract with Southampton.

Considering the pressure and challenges that we have placed a manager of Koeman’s calibre  under, he has shown class and loyalty in abundance throughout.

Can we so willingly allow a man who has all of the above – whilst remaining the coolest and suavest manager in the league – to simply leave from a job that he loves?

This is an opportunity to create something truly special with an intelligent, professional and classy manager – a rare breed in modern football. To date, each and every decision that Koeman has made for the club has been calculated and undeniably successful. So, now that he is evidently hunting for greater funding and the means to push on, let’s show any who ever doubted Southampton Football clubs ambition, that they are wrong.

Charlie Austin: Following the footsteps of a Southampton great?

Since Rickie Lambert left Southampton for his boyhood club, Liverpool, there has been a 6ft 2 Liverpudlian shaped gap left on the St Mary’s turf and in Saints fan’s hearts. But, could that gap be filled once again?

With the arrival of Graziano Pelle back in 2014, Southampton fans thought they had an immediate replacement.
Sadly, this was not the case. Whilst the Italian may possess some of Lambert’s mean heading ability and a strong presence up top, this is rivaled by a habit to moan at teammates, storm down the tunnel and find himself amongst long goal droughts – three traits that were never seen in Lambert’s game. Pelle has been a brilliant forward for Southampton and has given fans some unforgettable memories, but he just can’t fill that gap left by Lambert.

However, on the 16th of January, Southampton announced the £4 million signing of Charlie Austin from QPR. The England international striker was in high demand from other Premier League rivals and Saints’ fans were licking their lips at their new found potential Lambert replacement. The similarities are there for all to see.

Back in 2009, Southampton were sitting rock-bottom of League 1 with -10 points. They were crying out for someone who had experience in the lower leagues and the man to change that was Rickie Lambert. Lambert was brought in for £1 million at the age of 27 and those who knew League One, knew that Southampton had found themselves a bargain.
Prior to putting on his red and white stripes, Lambert had scored 29 goals in his previous season for Bristol Rovers – with 59 goals for the Pirates in 155 appearances.
Rather like Lambert, Austin joined Southampton with a goalscoring record to boast about – scoring 46 goals in 79 appearances for QPR. Both strikers joined Southampton with a strong reputation, knowing that if they receive service, then the goals would quickly follow. All fans can agree that both signings are a bargain given their proven records.

Successful debut seasons in the Premier League are yet another similarity between the two. As both strikers were playing for newly promoted sides, the same question marks were lingering over them. Could they handle the physical nature of Premier League defenders? Could they adapt and impress in England’s top division? The answer was of course, yes.
Lambert finished his debut season with 15 league goals, making him the League’s joint highest English goalscorer alongside Frank Lampard.
Charlie Austin also went on to have an amazing breakthrough season in the Premier League, scoring a total of 18 goals – making him the League’s second highest English goalscorer that season.

As for debut goals, yes, you guessed it. They both struck gold on their Southampton debut. Lambert opened his account in a League cup tie against Northampton at St Mary’s, heading home Lloyd James’ cross to open the scoring.
A little more glamorous admittedly, Austin was presented the challenge of grabbing his debut goal at Old Trafford. This looked to be an unlikely feat from the first whistle, as Ronald Koeman opted to start Shane Long. But Austin clearly thought otherwise.
With only seven minutes left on the clock and the game poised at 0-0, Southampton won a free-kick right by the corner flag. With a signature Ward-Prowse set piece, Austin found himself a free header that powered past David De Gea in the United goal.

Best of all, however, both forwards share the same rags-to-riches story. At just 15 years-old, both players were released and forced into the everyday jobs that helped to create their widely documented success stories that we now all know.
After being released by Reading for his slight frame, Austin found work as a bricklayer. Life wasn’t any sweeter for Lambert either, who took up a job at a beetroot factory after being released by Liverpool.
But their dreams of playing football were far from over, as they both went on to join non-league sides. Austin was considerably more prominent in non-league football, having played for Kintbury Rangers, Hungerford Town, and Poole Town. Lambert briefly trained for non-league side Marine, but soon joined Blackpool as a trainee.

For now, though, we should enjoy knowing that we have a forward in our side who has always found the back of the net at all levels of English football. However, to see the best of Austin, it would come as no surprise to me if we must wait until the new season.

The reason being is that he needs time to fully adapt to our style of play. Simply look to Austin’s strike partner Shane Long for a lesson in the importance of patience and time with new signings. During the Irishman’s debut season at Southampton, Long just couldn’t nail down a first team spot. Instead, he would drift into the side with two good games and then frustrate fans with a series of underwhelming and wasteful showings. His £12 million price tag was mocked by many. But now, having been given time to adapt and learn his role in the side, Long has become one of our most influential and exciting players.

But truth be told, the gap left by Lambert will never be filled, no matter how successful Austin is. It was a case of the right man being here at the right time with his and the clubs own two stories merging into something truly special.
It’s certainly exciting and intriguing to see the similarities between the two, but I want to see Austin create his own legacy.

With an eye for goal, clinical finishing and a potentially formidable partnership with Long on the horizon, Southampton fans have every reason to be hopeful that Charlie Austin can one day stand alongside Sir Rickie Lambert in St Mary’s folklore.

Calling all Football League clubs

Having burst onto the first-team scene back in August 2013 as a 19-year-old, there was much promise that this industrious midfielder would be breathing down the necks of Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin over the next two seasons. However, with the strong additions of Jordy Clasie and Oriol Romeu, all whilst James Ward-Prowse has been maturing into a first team regular, appearances have arrived at somewhat of a premium. Now being 21-years-old, It’s time for first-team football to be his priority. Harrison Reed has to kick on.

Since that first team debut against Barnsley, the England U20 regular has featured 21 times in the famous red and white stripes – 14 appearances of which have come in the Barclays Premier League. Now, whilst this may be an impressive accolade for most young talents who wish to forge their way into their sides first team, I ( and I’m sure many others ) would agree that these numbers are not representative of Reed’s talent.

He’s sharp, aggressive, passionate, hard working and where others with these traits usually fall short in technically ability, little Harry does not.

For the past three seasons now, Harrison Reed has been a sure starter in Martin Hunter’s U21 side. But that level can only develop and aid the ability of a player for so long. You only have to watch one game of U21 football to see that Reed is far superior to others whilst on the ball, off the ball and physically. He has truly surpassed the standard of the U21 League.

So, why is he still plying his trade at this level?

It seems that the midfielder – who has been likened to Paul Scholes – has found himself in a grey area of selection at Southampton.
At this point, he remains one of the few experienced players for the U21 side – making him a valuable member to Martin Hunter.
This is due to Matt Targett being tied down to first team commitments, Jason McCarthy being on loan at Wycombe Wanderers, Jack Stephens being on loan at Coventry, Jordan Turnbull being on loan at Swindon Town and even Sam McQueen being sent out on loan to Southend.

Perhaps the club feel that losing a player of Reed’s quality and experience would damage the other youngsters development? Whilst results at the U21 level are said to be irrelevant, playing attractive football and breeding the club’s philosophy is important – doing so would be made a damn sight harder with the absence of Reed.

Not to mention that when Southampton boss Ronald Koeman was asked who stood out in the U21 side, the Dutchman said: “Harrison Reed is close to the first-team.”.
Reed was one of only two academy prospects to be mentioned, so it’s clear that Koeman is viewing the possibility to embed Reed into his side. Most encouraging, the other player mentioned was Matt Targett, who has since picked up a handful of Premier League appearances. Maybe Reed’s chance is just over the horizon?

To me, however, all factors are pointing toward a loan move being the best decision. Reed is all too good for the U21 league, he will only be handed first team appearances if injuries were to strike and now being 21, he has to make a name for himself. Gametime is a priority and I believe that could be found in the middle of the Championship table or at a high-flying title challenging League One side.

Truth be told, Reed faces the threat of stalling his development if he doesn’t find a higher level of play.

He must ensure to find new challenges and place himself in high-pressure situations. Afterall, that is what makes players the best they can possibly be. If you ask any player who worked their way to the very top of the game what made them who they are, they will all speak of facing daunting situations as an unknowing youngster. Given Reed’s ability, continuing to settle for U21 football will hold him back from hitting the heights we all know he can reach.

If Reed’s attitude to be the very best is anything like his desire on the field, then he can make a loan move work and return to make a first team spot his own.

Why Sadio Mane wasn’t and still isn’t top-four material

After 53 minutes of strict organisation and pressing had passed, Southampton’s moment to capitalise arrived.

Third choice Gunners centre-half Gabriel Paulista lazily dragged the ball across the middle of the park and there was Sadio Mane to pick the ball up on the halfway line. Bounding toward the goal, Mane placed Koscielny on the back foot and forced himself an opening to the right-side of the box. But as he reached the 18-yard line, he scuffed it. With no balance and a weakly hit strike, the ball simply rolled into the hands of Cech. Sadly, this has been the Sadio Mane of recent weeks. And luckily for us, this is why Mane’s not yet ready for his dream move.

Unlike most that are labelled as “wantaway” players, it’s not Mane’s effort levels that I’m criticising. In fact, as wingers come, few can match Mane’s defensive contribution. Fans know each and every week that when the Senegalese International is on the pitch, we will be receiving nothing less than 100%. As fans, that’s all we can ask for.

However, when I see Mane being mentioned as the world class player that Manchester United need, I can’t help but question why and how.

Rather like Yannick Bolasie – another player that is continuously linked with a “big” move away – he is exciting and thrilling to watch from the terrace. His skills are dazzling, he can single-handedly win games and he can leave you laughing at the humiliation that he has just put poor Sunderland through. But, if they can still bring frustration to fans of mid-table sides, then they certainly aren’t ready for the heights of Champions League football.

We as fans of a mid-table team have the patience that allows a raw talent to flourish, and unsurprisingly, we have a lower expectation of performance in comparison to fans of clubs such as Manchester United. Those dodgy touches, wasted chances and poor decisions by Mane would get chewed up and spat out on the big stage. Simply look at the decline of Memphis Depay – the incredibly talented Dutchman has been unable to deal with the immense pressure that comes with being a Red Devil.

Despite being gifted a number of routine 1 v 1’s, continually finding space between the defensive lines and having half chances carved out for him, Mane last hit the back of the net on the second of December against Liverpool. For someone who operates as a goalscoring winger and often partners the forward, no goals in 11 games is hardly Champions League form.

On his day, Mane is unstoppable, there is no doubting that. He can simply skip past defenders with the deftest of touches and appear to glide past full-backs without breaking a sweat. But at this point in his career, for every ten games of magic, were shown ten games of shanked shots, first touches that clang of his shin and over-running the ball for a goal-kick.

To play for one of Football’s greatest clubs, consistency is key. And at Manchester United, these dips in form will result in a reserved heated seat alongside Memphis and Fellaini. Whilst his movement, work-rate, ability and relentless efforts are always clear to see, Mane must develop that killer instinct to beat the final man and bury his chances. Doing so will help him reach the level he so desires.
Mane has the ability to make it to the top. Ronald Koeman’s thoughts on the winger and the interest from Bayern Munich/Manchester United reflect just that. But has anyone stopped to consider that Mane is currently playing at his level? Has anyone considered that a big move this summer could stunt his growth? After all, there is few better than Southampton at developing young stars into the best they can be.

Why Europa could be on the cards for Koeman and co

We are now 23 games into the Premier League season and finally, it seems Southampton have found their feet. In a season where Leicester City are three points clear at the top and Chelsea have dealt battle with Bournemouth, Norwich and Villa for relegation, It would hardly be preposterous to suggest that Southampton can compete in Europe for the second season running. Here’s why.

The opening fixtures were greeted by fans as periods of transition, but as Southampton approached the midway point of the season, attractive football and results were few and far between.
Matchday 19 saw Southampton suffer a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Slaven Bilic’s Payet-less Hammers. Matchday 20 brought even more misery, with Southampton leaving Carrow Road empty handed. And one week later, Alan Pardew’s Palace dumped Southampton out of the FA cup.

But then, with a change of system, the return of Fraser Forster and the revenant of Shane Long, Southampton find themselves having played three games with nine points, six goals and three clean sheets to show for it.
Despite this being the first time Southampton have clicked all season, they sit in the comfortable heights of eighth place in irrepressible form. All of this makes for good reason to be optimistic for the remainder of the season, right?

Since being in the Premier League, one of Southampton’s biggest downfalls has been squandering those crucial moments and failing to bury half chances; quite frankly, this is what separates mid table teams from the top four. This season especially, Southampton have started the first half brightly, carving a number of key chances for themselves. However, putting them away has proved rather difficult to watch.

With Charlie Austin now in Southampton’s ranks, they have their proven goal scorer; they have a game winner. To put it into facts and stats, Pelle has taken 175 shots since the start of the 2014/15 Premier League season, scoring 18 goals. In that same time, Austin has taken 179 shots and scored 29 goals in a far less able attacking outlet.

Southampton fans have every reason to be optimistic about the prospect of Austin’s movement, positioning and finishing in the red and white stripes. One can only hope that with the addition of Austin, fans won’t have to rue those wasted chances come the final whistle.

The signing of Charlie Austin has been made all the more thrilling as its coincided with the return of England International Fraser Forster, the integration of England U21 Matt Targett and the simply faultless performance from James Ward-Prowse versus West Bromwich Albion.

Why may this help us achieve European football? we have our identity back. Youth development and an English spine have gone hand in hand with Southampton over previous years and during the first half of this season, it was nowhere to be seen. Whilst we all love watching Pelle tuck one away, it’s all the sweeter watching an England International rifle one home.

The fans are once again thrilled to watch local boys represent their club, impressed to see that we have a set direction and that foreign players can understand what we’re all about. A club losing its identity is dangerous and hard to recover, simply look at Manchester United. But right now, It’s exciting. Really exciting.

So exciting in fact that wantaway transfer rebel, Victor Wanyama, has reportedly told friends and family that he wants to sign a new deal. Refusing to sell our finest talents has been a big step toward growing as a club, but convincing them to extend their stay, that’s a sign of ambition to all players currently in the squad and potential future signings. Not only does it provide a mental boost to the team, but it also allows Koeman to plan for the future and know that he can rely on Wanyama. Pinning down stars on a new contract means far more than just retaining the talent.

Now we come to Fraser Forster. It could easily be argued that the England International has been the catalyst in Southampton’s revival of form. Since returning from injury, Forster and our now discipline defence have kept Watford (H), West Bromwich Albion (H) and Manchester United (A) at bay. That’s three clean sheets from three possible fixtures. Before Forster returned, we kept three clean sheets in our previous 17.

Whilst the six-foot-seven-inch shot-stopper has not been pushed into any hard work yet, his influence is clear to see. He’s installed that much-needed confidence back into our defence and allowed us to once again play out from the back.

As for competition, a goal-shy Crystal Palace are falling down the table, Everton’s inability to defend completely undoes the hard work of their frontline, Stoke simply don’t hit the back of that big white thing enough and Swansea have found themselves in a surprising battle for Premier League survival. At this moment in time, It looks to be a four horse race between Manchester United, West Ham, Liverpool and Southampton for European football.

In reality however, Southampton will only achieve Europa League qualification through the triumph of two already European qualified teams in the FA cup and Capital One Cup. Never the less, it would require us to finish somewhere in the top seven spaces; what an incredible turnaround that would be given Southampton’s poor early season form.

Yes, it’s a big ask. Yes, we will be relying on the work of others and yes, our form may well collapse over the next 15 games. However, we’ve all followed the Premier League and Southampton far too long to know that the unpredictable is rather predictable.

Austin Powers: Yeah baby

Southampton fans awoke yesterday morning in the hope of securing a back-to-back Premier League win during their three o’clock fixture against West Brom. However, Southampton made the fans day by early morning, after Sky Sports revealed that the club had agreed on a fee with Queens Park Rangers over Charlie Austin. By the time 12:00 struck, all the paperwork was finished and Austin was now a saint. But, is this yet more astute business for Southampton, what are the worries and how will he fit in?

First things first, the deal. Austin had six months remaining on his contract at QPR, taking him through to the summer as a free agent – clearly aware of the competition for the Englishman, Southampton acted fast, smooth and quiet. The result? acquiring a forward who scored 18 Premier League goals last season for a reported fee of four million. You’ve only got to look as far as Southampton’s south coast neighbours Bournemouth, to see the value held in this deal – the Cherries have forked out £18 million on unproven Premier League talent in Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban.

Not to mention that if Southampton had allowed negotiations to run through into the summer, a rather greedy agent would be wanting his contribution covered by a nice big cheque. As for wages, Southampton can afford to spend bigger on the wage bill due to the discounted asking price.

Four million to obtain a proven goal scoring Englishman is incredible business, no matter how you look at it.

Another area which must be touched upon is his record of injuries; however, as a matter of fact, that argument seems rather fallacious. Austin has scored at least 17 goals in each season as a professional footballer. Clocking up 160 appearances over the past five seasons, that’s over 32 games per season. Not bad for someone that has falsely been labelled as injury ridden.

Regardless of what many bitter fans may say about Austin’s injuries, were guaranteeing at least 13 goals per season. Why is that? well…

18 goals in a side that finished rock bottom of the Premier League last season. 18 goals in a team with next to no service. A player with such class in the box and the ability to create a chance from nothing is mouth watering for a Southampton side that needs a killer instinct. Swapping Matt Phillips for Sadio Mane and Junior Hoilett for Dusan Tadic can only bode well for Southampton fans expectations.

But where will Austin fit in? At this moment in time, it’s rather difficult to say given the sudden form of Shane long and the new change of system. Southampton originally operated as a 4-3-3 this season, but poor form and predictable play resulted in switching to a 5-3-2 formation. Austin typically flourishes when around a player who can help to free up space for him. Given that, the movement, aerial threat and work rate of Shane Long seems a logical match for Austin’s play. To bench the Irishman after recent showings would be simply criminal. This then leaves Koeman the task of finding space for Mane, Davis, Tadic. Rodriguez, Pelle and Targett – Koeman is being presented the best type of managerial nightmare.

Charlie Austin is a name mentioned many times in previous transfer windows for Southampton. Throughout this time, Southampton fans have had that funny old feeling that he would end up leading the line for us. Now it’s come true, we can only hope that the feeling of this transfer being the bargain of the window comes true too.

Le Tiss gives his thoughts and the truth on Mane’s meeting mix-up

 

On the second of January, Sadio Mane became the latest player at Southampton football club to take centre stage, turning up late to the pre-game meeting versus Norwich City. However, club legend Matthew Le Tissier believes that Ronald Koeman’s treatment was “A little bit harsh” after finding out what really happened.

Speaking to Le Tissier, he told us his thoughts on how Ronald Koeman dealt with the situation.

I think he’s obviously got rules in place in terms of timekeeping that he felt he would be compromised if he didn’t punish Sadio Mane for turning up late for the meeting before the Norwich game

Le Tisser then went on to give details about the situation and explain that it was in fact, a miscommunication.

There was an issue where the time of the meeting actually got changed.

Sadio turned up for the original time of the meeting, but, he wasn’t aware that the meeting had been brought forward ten minutes said Koeman.

As a result of Koeman’s rather one-sided story, Mane has received some now undeserved abuse through social media.

Having all the facts, it might have been a little bit harsh to have dropped him from the side that that day.

Thoughts On Koeman’s Latest Quotes

During yesterday’s pre-Crystal Palace presser, questions were continually thrown toward Ronald Koeman regarding the future of the usual transfer suspects. If there wasn’t already enough headlines surrounding Sadio Mane, then his decision to arrive late for the team meeting threw a gallon of fuel on the already burning speculation surrounding his future at the club; Victor Wanyama’s rather pathetic dismissal certainly didn’t help the situation either. With both incidents falling perfectly in time with the January transfer window, the dodgy transfer links and “ITK” sources were in full swing.

However, the message is clear from Koeman, no one is leaving. The Southampton boss told the media that “If there is any player thinking if his behaviour is not good that makes it easier for the player, then I’ll put the player in the stands until the end of their contract.”

In my opinion, that’s not the way you have to do your job as a football player”

Koeman has reiterated time and time again throughout the season that no one is for sale, but this message is rather different. He’s spoken about behaviour, the need to be focused and told the fans the exact plan that he would enforce, should it be necessary. All too often Southampton fans have been left in the shadows of decisions, completely unaware of the approach that their own football club is taking. Over previous transfer windows, it’s hard to decide whether Southampton as a club want the money, respect of our own players (It’s remarkable I’m having to suggest that) or just to chuck the bad eggs out.

It’s not only a message to current players, but a statement to players who may look to join Southampton this window, this summer or in future seasons. This club has demanded respect from its players for the fans and the success of the club.

If a big money move is on a player’s mind, then so be it. We can hardly expect a 22-year-old Senegal-born player who spent two years in Austria with a history of forcing transfers, to fall at his knees with love in his eyes at Southampton. Every player has ambitions and If our club can be of help in that, brilliant. All we ask for in exchange is a positive attitude and 100%, week in, week out. Provided the situation is clear, the deal remains intact and intentions are known, there is nothing wrong with being used as a “stepping stone”.

It was a hard-hitting statement at a much needed time; Southampton fans have been crying out for such clarification. With the club’s stance on outgoing transfers now settled, it’s time to settle the players on-pitch performances.

Calum Chambers: Boo Who?

It’s the 73rd minute and down upon the St Mary’s touchline, ex-Saint Calum Chambers is preparing for his return. Throughout the game, there had been applause for Theo Walcott and a warm reception for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, yet Chambers was met by a chorus of boos. Why?

Having broken into the first team under Mauricio Pochettino, Chambers went on to make 22 appearances during the 2013/14 season – this was all whilst in competition with Nathaniel Clyne. Southampton fans had been greatly impressed with the full back’s defensive capabilities and were excited for what the next season may hold. However, when Pochettino walked out the door and the club’s finest talents were stripped, Arsene Wenger came calling.

The opportunity to work under a manager of Wenger’s class and status is a footballing honour. As much as we moan that our players are jumping ship and leaving something special, with players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in Arsenal’s ranks, things are rather special there too. It’s not hard for a managerial great like Wenger to sway the mind of a 19-year-old, especially whilst he watches his manager-less club seemingly come crashing down. The current Arsenal squad, players of the past and some of the greatest players to ever grace the pitch sing the Frenchman’s praises for a reason. No blame here.

But what about game time? Was this a financially motivated move? Southampton fans have certainly suggested it and to that, I say, no chance.
To begin with, Pochettino was effectively alternating between Chambers and Clyne. A staggering number of people seem to be implying that Chambers was taking the jump from an integral, 40 game-a-season player, into a Capital One/FA cup back up. Not so; during his debut season at Arsenal, he went on to make 23 appearances.

With the combination of an impressive performance against Bournemouth and a sudden drop of form in Mathieu Flamini, Chambers will now look to make his mark on the first team once more.

Add to that the fact that Arsenal pick up injury, after injury, after injury. With Chamber’s able to play at right back, centre back and as a defensive midfielder, there is always a window of opportunity for this versatile youngster. His mind is certainly focused on his football.

Finally, and most importantly, however, Southampton never objected to this move. The board were happy to conduct business with Arsenal and that saw a handsome £16M transaction take place for a player that wasn’t the first choice right back. Astute business once again from Southampton.

Our fans anger and judgment toward Calum Chambers is implicitly linked to one horrible, painful summer. We’ve dragged a nice and respectable young player who was presented an incredible opportunity into the same category as liars, players who refuse to play and players who bad mouthed the club. The money was right, the negotiations were honest and had this not deal not taken place in such a dark period for the club, we would have all wished him well. So, upon Chamber’s next return to St Mary’s, have a moment’s thought and change the tune for a young man trying to chase his dream.

 

Transfer Talk: Seven Suggestions For Upcoming Windows

Whilst I and many other fans believe that their will be no real injection of talent in January, we can hope that the board has been swayed by Koemans recent words; even our captain, Jose Fonte is an agreement, stating “ I’m sure they’ll be looking to add some quality” If you don’t keep up you see very clearly that you start dropping, so we need to keep up.”

So, as the rumour mill begins to link our stars away once again, I decided to have my own fun and list a few potential attacking talents on our radar.

1)     Charlie Austin 

Many fans have called for Southampton talisman, Graziano Pelle, to have some high quality competition on his back. Austin would be the perfect proven signing given that he scored an impressive 18 goals in his debut Premier League season and boasts eight goals in 14 appearances this season – it’s clear to see that Austin should be applying his trade higher than the Championship. The current QPR man has even spoke of finding the “right opportunity” in the upcoming January transfer window. Not to mention that given the Englishman’s loyalty shown in the past summer and QPR’s unlikely chance for promotion, the asking price will be reasonable at a time when fees become so inflated. The only problem is that it seems just a little too obvious for Southampton.

2)     Juan Quintero

This Colombian attacking midfielder has been on the the lips of many fans and reporters in previous windows. With Koeman’s hunt for a number 10 still underway, the interest shall most likely reignite with Porto when his loan spell at Rennes comes to an end. Having made 13 appearances for his country at the age of 22, the little magician has made quite the name for himself.

3)    Denis Cheryshev

Last season at Villarreal, Cheryshev scored four goals and created nine assists in 26 La Liga outings.

However, with only two appearances to his name so far this campaign, Cheryshev’s start to the 2015/16 season has been one of false promise under Rafa Benitez at Real Madrid. With such a lack of game time, he would certainly be open to a January loan move – the Russian will want to be back at his best in time for Russia’s Euro 2016 participation.

4)     Loic Remy

No matter how many windows of opportunity open for Remy to show his talents, Mourinho simply slams them back down with denial and stubbornness. With Costa only holding four goals to his name this campaign and the goalless Eden Hazard ahead of him in the number nine pecking order, Remy surely cant wait much longer for first team action. If Roman Abramovich dips into his wallet, then Remy will most likely be shown the door.

5)     Alen Halilovic 

Halilovic has been touted as a wonderkid by many and his exceptional talent has been on show for Sporting De Gijon this season. But, with the Barcelona frontline currently as strong as it is, another loan deal may be on the cards for the little Croat. Perhaps a Barcelona buy-back clause is a possibility? We’ve seen the Catalan club send out their fine talents in the past, only to snatch them back once their ripe.

This deal could be encouraged by Southampton’s work with youngsters and the great development on Deulofeu during his time in the Premier League. Koeman’s strong relationship with Barcelona is also a factor in attracting such a talent. It’s a high hope, but football is one mad game.

6)     Georginio Wijnaldum

This Dutchman has been what many would argue as the only bright spark in the current Newcastle side. He’s scored seven goals since joining in the summer, creating 17 chances along the way; imagine the destruction he could cause in an organised and free flowing unit.

Both the Koeman brothers have made it clear that they are admirers of the 25 year old and It would come as no surprise to me if Southampton were to place a bid come the end of the season.

7)     Solly March

The England U21 International has been in exceptional form for the Seagulls this season, attracting Southampton in the previous summer and once again now. He’s quick, sharp, busy and possesses an excellent delivery, playing a key role in Brighton’s 19 unbeaten games. Our fans love to watch a young English player, even if they aren’t from the Southampton academy. Put on those red and white stripes and you’re one of us.