It was an eventful summer on the South Coast as Southampton moved on to Claude Puel from Ronald Koeman after two successful seasons under the Dutch gaffer. It will be probably the most crucial season for the Saints in many years as they will be playing in the Europa League. We have to wait and see how Claude Puel fares in his first season in English football.
It was not the best transfer window for Southampton. They had to part ways with key players like Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama and Graziano Pelle. On the other hand, we saw players like Nathan Redmond, Sofiane Boufal, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, and Jeremy Pied moving to the St. Mary’s.
So, what should be the best possible Southampton lineup with the new signings lined up? It is evident that Puel believes in a 4-4-2 diamond system and the Saints are likely to line up in this formation throughout the season. We will get to see plenty of rotations in the starting XI as well in order to keep the players fresh. Here is the strongest possible Southampton lineup.
Fraser Forster will definitely remain the first-choice under the bar. Cedric Soares is likely to be favoured ahead of Cuco Martina and Jeremy Pied in the right-back position. Jose Fonte and Virgin van Dijk should remain the first-choice centre-back pairing while Ryan Bertrand is likely to be preferred ahead of Matt Targett in the left full-back position.
Southampton have plenty of midfield options and mark my words that they will need it to compete in the Premier League and the Europa League at the same time. The strongest possible midfield diamond will be Oriol Romeu in defensive midfield, Steven Davis and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg as the two box to box midfielders and Sofiane Boufal at the tip of the midfield acting as the brain of the team. Clasie, Ward-Prowse, Red and Tadic will be acting as more than decent backups in midfield.
The Saints have three strikers at their disposal right now in Shane Long, Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Austin. Puel has so far used Nathan Redmond as a forward as well. The best possible striker duo will be Shane Long and Nathan Redmond. With Redmond offering the pace and the industry and Shane Long offering deadly finishing, the duo should work like magic. Rodriguez and Austin are solid backups to the duo as well.