Southampton’s task of trying to improve on last season’s 15th place finish has become much tougher after losing talisman Danny Ings (33/1 Premier League Top Goalscorer) to Aston Villa on Wednesday.
Hopes for the New Season
After four successive top-10 finishes between 2013 and 2017, Southampton (5/2 Top Half Finish) have had to make do with bottom 10 placings in each of the last four campaigns.
They climbed as high as third in December 2020 following a draw at Arsenal but the wheels very quickly came off and they won just a further five games to end the term in a lowly 15th.
Ralph Hasenhuttl, who is heading into his third full season at the helm, is under pressure to push for the top 10 but his assignment has been hit by the departure of Ings to rivals Aston Villa.
The England striker has been Southampton’s top scorer in each of the last two seasons and Che Adams will now have to shoulder the responsibility of leading the line.
Southampton (50/1 FA Cup outright) reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup last term and enjoying another run in one of the cup competitions will likely be high on the agenda for the Austrian.
Arrivals and Departures
Theo Walcott – Everton – Free
Romain Perraud – Stade Brest – Undiclosed
Olly Lancashire – Crewe – Free
Dynel Simeu – Chelsea – Undisclosed
Tino Livramento – Chelsea – £5million
Wesley Hoedt – Anderlecht – Undisclosed
Angus Gunn – Norwich – £5million
Alex Jankewitz – Young Boys – Undisclosed
Mario Lemina – Nice – £4.6million
Callum Slattery – Motherwell – Undisclosed
Danny Ings – Aston Villa – £30million
Less than 24 hours ago, Danny Ings would have been hailed as Southampton’s star man but the transfer window moves quickly and Saints will hope others can come to the fore in 2021-22.
James Ward-Prowse, who has also been heavily linked with Aston Villa, made more appearances than any other player at the club last term, chipping in with a career-best nine goals across all competitions.
He was handed the captain’s armband in June 2020 and ebraced the chance to lead out his boyhood club, having made his 300th Saints appearance in January.
The midfielder’s ability over a dead ball is almost unrivalled in the Premier League and, should Southampton keep him out of the clutches of Villa, he will be essential to their hopes next season.
Hasenhuttl arrived in the Premier League with a growing reputation after playing a key role in the development of RB Leipzig.
He is an advocate of the Gegenpressing philosophy, which sees the team press aggressively to try and win possession back, rather than retreating into a defensive shape.
His preference for that style saw him dubbed “The Alpine Klopp”, however, his record in England falls well below Jurgen Klopp’s and he has failed to drive the club forward during his spell at St Mary’s.
Last season – 15th