Southampton: What to Expect from the Saints as the Transfer Window Winds Down
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It's been a chaotic few days on the South Coast for Southampton F.C. With the surprising dismissal of Nigel Adkins as Saints manager, his immediate replacing by Mauricio Pochettino and Monday's 0-0 draw to Everton behind them, Southampton is enjoying a bit of a training holiday in Barcelona—with its next match not until next Wednesday against Manchester United.
Sitting at just a bit more than a week to go before the transfer deadline closes for the year, Pochettino is running out of time if he feels the squad needs to be strengthened
Thankfully for Pochettino, the squad doesn't appear to need too much strengthening. Southampton is undefeated in its last six Premier League appearances and sits four points above the relegation zone with 15 matches to play.
Adam Lallana joined in full training today and should be nearing a return. The addition of Vegard Forren from Norwegian Tippeligaen champions Molde FK boosted the center of the Southampton defense with Jose Fonte out with a knee injury for likely another month.
Pochettino also favors promoting players from the academy system, so he will likely not bring anyone in unless he sees a gap that the academy cannot fill. The new manager also uses a similar style and formation that Adkins used to play, a high-pressure 4-3-3/4-5-1 combo, meaning additions because of a style change aren't necessary.
The rumors that are circling seem to be focused on the addition of another midfielder, The Daily Mail is reporting that Southampton have reached an agreement with Inter Milan for a £10.2 million deal for young Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho did spend last season on loan at Espanyol under the guidance of Pochettino, so there is a connection.
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Sky Sports is reporting that Southampton are also interested in Anderlecht's Lucas Biglia and Espanyol's Joan Verdu. Biglia has apparently been on strike at Anderlecht, trying to force a move to the Premier League. The Daily Mirror reports that Biglia would likely command an £8 million fee and had the interest of Pochettino when he was at Espanyol.
Verdu was a former player for Pochettino at Espanyol as well. However, Pochettino has stated that he will not look to take any players currently on contract at Espanyol, as he does not want to disrupt his former club.
Speaking on Spanish radio show Esports Cope, Pochettino said, "I'm not going to take any players from Espanyol," according to TribalFootball.com. ""I won't do anything that goes against the club. There are a lot of football players in the world. I'm happy they're out of the relegation zone because ultimately I'm just another Espanyol fan.”
Which midfielder would you like to see Southampton bring in?
It is highly unlikely that Southampton would actually sign all three players. With Lallana close to a return, the midfield is full of players capable of doing the job. Morgan Schneiderlin, Gaston Ramirez and Jason Puncheon have all had tremendous seasons for Southampton, and Jack Cork has been plenty serviceable since returning from injury in December.
The Saints also have plenty of depth in the midfield as well. Steven Davis, Steve De Ridder, Guly Do Prado and James Ward-Prowse have all been adequate when called upon. One additional midfielder would be plenty.
Most other rumors concerning Southampton seem to have fizzled out. The on-again, off-again discussions about bringing in a goalkeeper like Birmingham's Jack Butland seemed to have died down. The recent play of Artur Boruc, who has two clean sheets in his last three starts, seems to have stopped the revolving door of goalkeepers Southampton has used this season.
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