Well I must admit I did not expect to be typing this with a month still to go in the summer transfer window, (published with less than that—apologies, Ed) Southampton Football Club has already brought in four new first team players without a fire sale of the starting eleven (so far) by the board…
In this piece, I will look at each of our new signings and in turn be evaluating what the impact of each player has on the squad whilst considering any knock on effects for the players in similar positions of the team.
So far Saints have spent somewhere in the region of £51 million, and there will be those supporters relieved to see the clubs hierarchy loosening the purse strings on the back of a disappointing campaign last time round with the remainder of the Virgil Van Dijk money seemingly being spent much better that the first purchase made with the funds received.
On top of the four new faces coming through the door this summer, Southampton have also tied down Manager Mark Hughes to a three year contract on the back of his achievement of keeping the side in the Premier League at the back end of last season. Also rewarded for his performances since being brought into the side goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has been handed a new four year contract as he looks set to make the number one spot his own ahead of the new season.
Let’s take a look then at our new arrivals in chronological order:
Stuart Armstrong – Midfielder
The first new face to arrive was Scottish international midfielder Stuart Armstrong, with a reported price tag of £7 million from SPL champions Celtic. Stuart has been brought in to seemingly provide a greater goal contribution from the midfield area of the team evidenced by during the 2016/2017 season Armstrong contributed seventeen goals in all competitions and in the eyes of a lot of supporters is viewed as a replacement for current club captain Steven Davis who has recently been linked with a move back to Rangers.
Mohamed Elyounoussi – Winger/Forward
The second new face to arrive was Norwegian attacking player Mohamed Elyounoussi (Moi), a price tag of £16 million is believed to have been parted with to Swiss side FC Basel. Moi has he prefers to be referred to as brings a variety of pace, creativity and goals with him which is needed now more than ever with the departure of Dusan Tadic to Dutch giants Ajax leaving a big whole to be filled in the squad at just twenty three years of age Moi has plenty of time to develop even further on the thirteen goals and eight assists he provided in all competitions during his final season in Swiss football. A particular highlight which would have no doubt caught the eye of Saints’ recruitment team was his display at the Etihad Stadium against current Premier League champions Manchester City during a Champions League tie in which he was a standout player on the night, Saints fans will no doubt be wanting to seeing more of the same at St Marys this season.
Angus Gunn – Goalkeeper
Arrival number three was that of young England International goalkeeper Angus Gunn, who comes highly rated and viewed as a potential future England number one by people within the football industry, an initial fee of £10 million rising to £13.5 million with add ons. Angus had his break out season on loan with Championship side Norwich in the last campaign where he played alongside Saints’ Harrison Reed He was also part of the England team to win the 2016 Toulon tournament under Gareth Southgate where he was joined by Matt Targett, James Ward Prowse, Nathan Redmond and Jack Stephens. He is expected to push current number one Alex McCarthy hard for the starting sport this campaign but his arrival does seemingly push Fraser Forster towards the exit door whether that is on a temporary or permanent basis we will have to wait and see.
Our newest recruit to arrive is a ‘Great Dane’ in every sense of the word 6 foot 6 central defender Jannik Vestergaard who comes from German side Bourissa Mochengladbach for a reported fee of £18 million he brings with him a noticeable aerial presence which has been severely lack within the side since the departure of Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool in January. He also provides great good defensive organisation skills and uses his big frame to make numerous amounts of crucial blocks for his team. With Mark Hughes favouring to play three at the back expect the Danish International to be a prominent figure in the centre of defence this season and in time could even become a leader in the side. He is tactically very astute and is comfortable with the ball at his feet so should slot in nicely with our possession based style of play.
I am expecting more ins and out at Saints before the window slams shut at the beginning of August, with Sofiane Boufal expected to join Guido Carrillo out of the club with Jordy Clasie and Fraser Forster highly likely to leave also.
It has been a great start to our summer transfer window and like all supporters hopefully it just keeps getting better and we can push on again this season.