Following the inevitable sacking of French boss Claude Puel by Southampton, the South Coast club is one of the busiest sides among the Premier League now. Not only are they seeking a new man to hold the mast steady now, but they also have to deploy him quality options on a platter much ahead of the pre-season.
Puel’s sacking, although long known, looked harsh to many. After all, the Frenchman did take the Saints to the EFL Cup final and helped to finish at the eighth place. His negative playing, however, slowed down Southampton’s scoring rate to a significant extent last season. Southampton could manage to score only 17 goals in 19 home games all season, and Puel’s relationship with the club’ star players was also strained.
Here are 3 players Southampton should target this summer to bring the club to its previous form-
Lamine Kone- It seems that Southampton just might see off all huge challenges and retain Virgil van Dijk at last. Southampton had a double blow last season in the departure of skipper Jose Fonte and the season-ending injury to Van Dijk, which led to a huge slump in their midseason.
And even if they manage to hold on to Van Dijk, Southampton essentially need another experienced centre-half to hold the backline steady along with Maya Yoshida. Sunderland’s Lamine Kone could be the ideal addition by all means. The Ivory Coast international has previously proven his mettle with the Black Cats and his aggressive approach makes him a perfect partner to the intelligent Van Dijk.
Oumar Niasse- Southampton do have a number of strikers at their disposal, but none of them has shown the quality needed to survive in the Premier League. Except for Manolo Gabbiadini, their latest winter recruit, none of the others has had any instant impact. 30-year-old Shane Long could be a possible departure this summer and this Everton man would be an ideal addition.
On loan with Hull City, Niasse showed the pace and vibrancy in the attacking third, which would suit perfectly to Southampton’s free flowing counter-attacks. Despite not playing at the top level for the first half of the season, he didn’t waste time in making an impact at KCOM Stadium.
Andrew Robertson- Among Southampton’s impressive back line is Ryan Bertrand, who has caught huge attention from many top sides. He is a regular in England’s first team in the absence of Danny Rose and could be a high-profile departure this summer.
His sale could be used to get in the Scotsman from relegated side Hull City. After getting relegated with the Tigers yet again, Robertson is likely to part ways with the club. But his brilliant displays on the left flank last season could be enough to earn him a move up.
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