Premier League Previews: Southampton
What are you most excited about heading into the new season?
It’s a chance for Hasenhüttl to have his first full pre-season with the squad and instil his ideas and methods into them. Our new style under him will hopefully lead to a lot of attacking play and opportunities to improve on our poor goal scoring record in recent seasons.
What worries you ahead of the new season?
The defence! We’re a bit light across the back with no experienced cover for Bertrand at left back. Valery has made the right back position his own and shown himself to be a very talented player, but at only 20 years of age, we have to expect he’ll need a rest at some point.
At centre back, Bednarek finished the season strongly but with Yoshida, Vestergaard, or Stephens alongside him, you can’t help but think silly mistakes are never far away.
What have you made of your clubs transfer activity this summer?
The lack of funds available and the need to sell before we buy have meant we haven’t been able to spend as freely as others. Saying that, we’ve signed a pacey, 21-year-old Malian winger in Moussa Djenepo from Standard Liege. He seems very raw, but we may just have unearthed another Sadio Mane.
We’ve also bought Che Adams, who seems like a good fit for our style. With some time still left in the window, hopefully we can offload a few players who are surplus to requirements too, along with the wantaway Mario Lemina.
What unpopular opinion do you have about your team going into the season?
We’re essentially the same team that’ve fought relegation for the past two seasons (bar the additions of Adams and Djenepo) – why should we expect anything different this year?!
Saying that, the general feeling around the club is still a lingering one from the Ronald Koeman days. With Hasenhüttl at the helm, who knows…
Who would win if your squad had a WWE Royal Rumble style fight?
Vestergaard stands at 6ft 6 – which I think makes him the tallest outfield player in the Premier League – so he’d take some chopping down.
For me, the last two standing would be our captain, Pierre Hojbjerg, who has a tank that never seems to empty, and Oriol Romeu, who’s a force to be reckoned with on and, I’d imagine, off the pitch too.
Where do you think your team will realistically finish in the Premier League?
I think realistically, we should be happy with any improvement on last year’s 16th placed finish. We do have a reason to be optimistic though, considering the massive turnaround Hasenhüttl oversaw in a relatively short space of time.
If we make a strong start to the season, and the squad can stay injury-free, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be pushing for mid-table mediocrity before maybe dreaming of better things in seasons to come.