14 Apr 2019 10:59:57
Hi guys. Haven't been posting on here much lately but with our status now effectively secured, I'm starting to think about the summer. It shows what a difference a manager can make that the wholesale changes which felt unavoidable a few months ago suddenly feel much less urgent, but I do think it's important we remember the problems we had and don't get too comfortable.

OUT (if we can find buyers) : Austin, Forster, Lemina, Elyounoussi, Hoedt, Cedric, Clasie, Carillo. I find it very difficult to see a future here for any of these players; Lemina would be the one that if he showed the right attitude, I'd give another chance to.


RB: Doesn't have to be a star as I think we should give Valery every chance to start next year. He needs competition and a backup though. Let's call it an £8-10m player.
CB: I think we have space for a quality player to start next to Bednarek, but equally if the right guy at the right price isn't available, I'm comfortable with Vestergaard alongside him and then Yoshi when we play 3/ 5 at the back. Ideally though, a £15-20 mil player.
W: This is where I'd like to see us pull off a bit of a coup. Redmond has been fantastic and I'm a huge fan of Josh Sims, but they're our only real first team players with pace and directness. I have high hopes that Hassenhutl could get the best out of Boufal, but that'd take time and should be considered a bonus. £30m on a winger/ attacker with pace would take us to the next level. One name that springs to mind is Lookman, who I think would be a quality signing.
ST: £20m striker, which for us is a major signing, who fits Hassenhutl's philosophy and can compete with Ings and enable us to overcome the almost inevitable period's where Ings will be injured. Divock Origi comes to mind as an option that could fit well given his experience of a similar style at Liverpool, although I do find that slightly uninspiring. Anyone have any better ideas?

I think with this, we'd have a streamlined squad with plenty of youngsters to serve as true depth - the likes of Obafemi, Johnson, Ramsey, Slattery and so on. Total spend of £80m which, given the fairly major clearout and money we'd gain from it, I think is perfectly realistic. I'm playing football manager a bit here and realise this is probably too much work for us to pull off in one summer, so let's call it an ideal plan for the next two windows.

Following this, our first team would look like (possible signings in Caps) : Gunn, Valery, Bertrand, Bednarek, SARR, Romeu, Hojbjerg, JWP, Redmond, LOOKMAN, Ings (SUBS: McCarthy, Vestergaard, MAEHLE/ Targett, Reed, Armstrong, Sims, ORIGI) .

Let me know your thoughts! Do you agree with the broad outline of what we need? And who specifically do you think would fit the bill?

1.) 14 Apr 2019
14 Apr 2019 13:32:21
Agree with all of that - I’d maybe add Long and Stephens to the outgoings list, and would like about £75-80m for that lot (£25-30m for Lemina if PSG/ RM are gullible enough to pay that much) .

Would be happy with Maehle at RB, he fits the mould. I remember Upamecano being mentioned but I think he might be a bit out of our league. Still fancy Ralph to uncover some rough diamonds in Germany a la PEH.

I do love Vestergaard - he was one of my dream signings I’d make for Saints on FIFA! But I do think we need back up there. And hopefully we can bring some academy products through as well.

I think Lookman has potential, haven’t seen much from him recently but with the right management I think he could do a job. Also like the look of Herrmann at Mönchengladbach, I believe he’s out of contract in the summer so would be a steal. Can play RW or CF and he’s a hard worker.

Finding the goal scorer is always going to be the big one. Ings can get 12-15 factoring in injuries. Defence will add 5, midfield and subs about 15 and wingers another 10. So we still lack that 20+ goal machine like Rickie to propel us up the table. I do like Origi, just wonder whether Liverpool will give us both their peripheral forwards.

Sturridge is also on the wings and I think also out of contract - much like Ings if he stays fit he is a goal scorer, but againa big if. Other than that there’s Adams we’ve been linked with, maybe Maupay of Brentford? But they aren’t exactly household names in the striker business. I trust us to find someone, and I trust that they have also highlighted these areas given their silence in January.

Expecting 4-2-2-2 for the season, my side would be;

Gunn; Bertrand Bednarek Vestergaard/ New Maehle/ Valery; PEH Romeu; JWP Redmond/ New; Ings New
Bench: Macca Sims Vester/ CB Obafemi Sims Armstrong RB.

2.) 16 Apr 2019
16 Apr 2019 10:26:32
It depends what RH wants to do – play his preferred 4-2-2-2, or as he’s done all season, adapt himself and simply look to bring in one or two to strengthen positions.

In the premier league, matches are won and lost in the transition phase; the team who reacts best to winning possession and equally to losing it, is the team most likely to win the game. Most teams press and the game is played at high pace, whether the ball is on the deck or played direct. To succeed you need composed players who are very comfortable on the ball across the board. We’ll hopefully have the advantage of developing these types of players in our youth ranks but we’ll probably need to bring some more in to strengthen the first team over the next few seasons.

A good keeper like Timo Horn at Koln who can play with ball at feet would be useful. Vestergaard is too ungainly, lacks technical ability and is too slow for me. If we bring in another centre back, someone like Matthias De Ligt from Ajax would be great. His exposure is high now though so think this would be unlikely and expensive but someone of that ilk. Hoedt could still be an asset under a much better coach like RH.

We need back up at right back unless Harrison Reed is going to play there. Cedric may well be on his way with Valery ahead of him in the pecking order. RH seems a little unconvinced by Matt Targett so it may be a young left back is required too.

I’d like to see Lemina given a chance in a team that’s actually working hard and doing well. I’d also like to see Elyounoussi get a chance in an improved Saints side too. Its hard for a young player to change countries and leagues, styles of play and go from a top team down to one fighting relegation. let's not be too quick to ship him off unless RH feels his work ethic or attitude aren’t right, but I’ve not seen evidence of that in his performances. Romeu I still worry about in terms of his awareness, concentration and sometimes he’s just plain sloppy. A new defensive midfielder or even someone like Classie who again, may fair better under a better coach and different system. He can certainly use the ball well and break up play.

I don’t think Boufal will ever work hard enough to fit in under RH so he’s likely to leave. Austin can go. I agree we need back up for Ings and ideally a player in a similar mould. Last season, I could see Origi as a possibility but Klopp has been very vocal about liking him and this season, he’s shown more of his ability so I can’t see him leaving Liverpool. I’m not sure of other names that fit the bill so will have to do a bit of research.

Under RH, this squad of players can achieve top 10. I think the main position crying out for added depth are right back and a hard working creative striker. Maybe a right sided wide player too as we have a few for the left side. If we’re to play 4-2-2 we’ll need another defensive and another attacking midfielder.

3.) 16 Apr 2019
16 Apr 2019 20:55:40
There's zero chance of De Ligt unfortunately, but I agree that he's the type of player we would be after in terms of a CB who's comfortable on the ball. I was wondering whether Hoedt could fit the bill, but I just decided he was too clumsy when he played for us and didn't give me much reason to have faith, even under a better coach. The same goes for Elyounoussi. I have no issue with his work ethic, but I just saw nothing to justify his transfer fee or place in the squad. No pace, no quality on the ball, and none of the skill that his YouTube highlights promised. Based on his role since he joined, I had to conclude that RH feels the same.

Lemina's a tricky one. He's not been seen since being subbed off in the first half in what (if my memory is correct) was his first or second game under RH. It was one of the more bizarre performances I've ever seen by a Saints player - he looked exhausted from the first minute. He's our best midfielder, and quite possibly best player in terms of pure ability, but he just feels like a player that won't adapt to RH. The difference between him and Boufal, for me, is Lemina actually has some transfer value, so is less worth the risk of just keeping him around and seeing what RH can get out of him.