Southampton: 6 Free Agents That Could Help the Saints in the Short Term

Mike Miller@mwmiller20Contributor IIISeptember 21, 2012

Southampton: 6 Free Agents That Could Help the Saints in the Short Term

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    After Saturday's 6-1 drubbing by Arsenal, a little bit of panic seems to be setting in on the south coast of England.

    Southampton currently sit in last place in the Premier League with zero points in four matches—and a minus-nine goal differential.

    There have been rumors of Southampton being interested in bringing in Harry Redknapp or Rafa Benitez (according to the Daily Star) should Nigel Adkins continue to falter.

    With the transfer window closed, Southampton may not be able to wait until January to strengthen the squad should Adkins feel the need to bring in more reinforcements.

    Thankfully, there are some quality free agents that are out of contract and could join the club immediately.

    Here are six targets that Nigel Adkins and Southampton could take a look at.

Craig Gordon, Goalkeeper (last with Sunderland)

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    It's not a big secret that Kelvin Davis hasn't looked the sharpest so far in his return to the Premier League. Davis has conceded 14 goals in four matches.

    The Guardian has linked Craig Gordon in a move to Southampton to "retrieve a football from some netting."

    Hopefully, Gordon would be able to stop the football from entering the netting in the first place. The Scot was released by Sunderland over the summer after losing the first-choice keeper role to Simon Mignolet.

    Gordon has been ravaged by injuries, including two broken arms, a knee tendon and ACL injury. He only made 95 appearances with Sunderland over a five-year period because of the injuries.

    But the 29-year-old seems to be fit now, and the former first-choice goalkeeper for Scotland would give Kelvin Davis a legitimate challenger to the No. 1 keeper role for Southampton—as Paulo Gazzaniga and Cody Cropper are unlikely ready for Premier League football yet.

Artur Boruc, Goalkeeper (last with Fiorentina)

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    Another keeper on the market that Southampton could be open to signing is Polish international Artur Boruc.

    Boruc has spent the past two seasons as the No. 1 at Fiorentina, but elected not to re-sign with the club. 

    According to The Mirror, Boruc underwent a trial at Everton this past weekend and David Moyes is apparently interested in bringing him in to cover for Tim Howard.

    "I'm fit and available and a little bit surprised to be in this situation following two good seasons in Serie A with Fiorentina," Boruc told The Mirror.

    Prior to his time at Fiorentina, Boruc spent five years at Celtic, where he was part of three Scottish Premier League champion teams.

    At 32, he still has a few good seasons left in him and would be a worthy challenger to Kelvin Davis' starting role in net.

Thomas Hitzlsperger, Midfielder (last with Wolfsburg)

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    Another Everton target that could also benefit Southampton is German international Thomas Hitzlsperger.

    Hitzlsperger is out of contract after being released from Wolfsburg over the summer.

    The central midfielder would add depth to the center of Nigel Adkins' 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid setup. With Adam Lallana pushed out to left wing, Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse and Morgan Schneiderlin have been mainstays in the center three, with Richard Chaplow as the only real backup in the middle.

    Hitzlsperger has plenty of experience in the Premier League, having played previously with Aston Villa and West Ham United.

    The 30-year-old could likely be had on a short-term contract and would be a low-risk, possible high-reward signing for the Saints.

    His powerful shot from distance that earned him the nickname "Der Hammer" at Aston Villa would seem to work well on the receiving end of Rickie Lambert knockdowns.

Nigel Reo-Coker, Midfielder (last with Bolton)

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    Nigel Reo-Coker is another central midfielder that is also available as a free agent. Reo-Coker is a bit more defensive-minded than Hitzlsperger, but would also shore up the middle three of the Southampton midfield.

    Reo-Coker left Bolton after being relegated last season. He has been training with Charlton, according to News Shopperbut Charlton apparently have no intention of signing Reo-Coker.

    Only 28, Reo-Coker would seem to have several years left in his career. He is vastly experienced, with over 300 appearances with Wimbledon, West Ham United, Aston Villa and Bolton under his belt.

    Reo-Coker is known to provide a bit of muscle in the midfield, as his eight yellow cards last season would attest. On a team that has conceded 14 goals already this season, a forceful deterrent might slow down opposition attackers just a bit.

John Mensah, Defender (last with Lyon)

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    While Southampton have already made two signings to bolster the back line in Nathaniel Clyne and Maya Yoshida, another body for depth and to keep competition high for places may not be a bad idea.

    John Mensah was released by Lyon this summer after only making one appearance in 2011-12 due to injury.

    Prior to last season, Mensah spent two seasons on loan at Sunderland, playing in 34 matches, but the Black Cats chose not to sign him due to fitness concerns.

    According to Ghana Web, Mensah had been on trial at West Ham United, but Sam Allardyce elected not to sign him.

    If healthy, he could be an absolute steal. Mensah has been a rock in the back four for Ghana and captained the Black Stars to the quarterfinals in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Owen Hargreaves, Defender/Midfielder (last with Manchester City)

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    If Southampton want to take the ultimate flier, Owen Hargreaves is available and apparently healthy. 

    Hargreaves is attracting a number of looks, including Everton, according to the The Mail Online.

    Hargreaves had been training with Lille, but the French club pulled out of a proposed deal before it could be finalized.

    Hargreaves only made four appearances with Manchester City in 2011-12 and hasn't really played regular football since 2008. But he's only 31 and would provide some versatility to cover a number of positions in the defense and midfield.

    It would look like a move of desperation. But as the saying goes, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. If Southampton's current run of form continues, it will be time for desperate measures.