Coming off of a deserved 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford and currently riding a five-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League, you would think everything was sunshine and lollipops amongst the team on the South Coast.
However, at least one member of the squad doesn't seem happy with his current situation.
Gaston Ramirez is not happy, according to his agent Pablo Betancourt. According to ESPNFC.com via Napoli Calcio Live, Betancourt said "Gaston really likes the chairman, Nicola Cortese, but not the coach, (Mauricio) Pochettino.”
One might understand why Ramirez could be disillusioned with Pochettino, considering he has only made four substitute appearances in the Premier League this season, with no appearance lasting longer than 28 minutes. The Uruguay international hasn't even made the 18-man match squad in the last two matches, with Guly do Prado being preferred on the bench.
Ramirez seems to be keen to move back to Serie A, with several top clubs like Napoli, Inter Milan and Lazio mentioned as possible landing spots, according to Ed Malyon of the Daily Mirror. Juventus were also interested in the 22-year-old over the summer, according to James Dickenson of the Express.
If there is truly interest out there for Ramirez's services, perhaps it would be right to let the club's former record signing go.
Juventus were reported to be willing to spend £12 million to bring Ramirez back to Italy. If Southampton could get that much out of the transfer, it would be a net wash in the ledger, as that was around the price it took chairman Nicola Cortese and former manager Nigel Adkins to acquire him from Bologna.
Such money could then be used to bolster the one significant need Southampton have with the current squad, a winger to play opposite Adam Lallana.
Pochettino has deployed Jay Rodriguez, James Ward-Prowse and Steven Davis in winger roles this season. But none of them are really natural wingers. Rodriguez is a natural striker and Ward-Prowse and Davis are better suited in the center of midfield.
A natural winger could be the one piece to the puzzle that pushes Southampton into European play next season.
Also, Ramirez is simply surplus to requirements at the moment. Dani Osvaldo has primarily been playing in the attacking center-midfield role that the Uruguayan is best suited for. Both Davis and Ward-Prowse are also higher in the pecking order than Ramirez at the moment.
With Ramirez being only 22-years-old, some may argue that a loan move for the rest of the season may make more sense. While it would seem to be a good idea to give a young player some seasoning, it would be just delaying the inevitable. Still just 18, Ward-Prowse looks to be the future of the Southampton midfield for years to come.
It's a regular occurrence in sports that when a new manager or coach comes into a club, players that were regulars under the old boss just don't fit into the plans or tactics of the new boss. It's nobody's fault, it just happens.
Assuming Uruguay defeats Jordan in a playoff for a World Cup spot, Ramirez will be desperate for regular playing time to prove his worth. It appears that Ramirez just doesn't feature in Pochettino's plan. Southampton should let Ramirez move on in January if that is what he really wants. No use keeping someone around who doesn't want to be there.
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