Southampton Need Stability To Bounce Back After Relegation

Southampton Need Stability To Bounce Back After Relegation

With relegation mathematically confirmed, Southampton FC end their 11-year stay in the English Premier League in their first year under Sport Republic ownership.

Hasenhuttl Fired – Jones Appointed

Firing Ralph Hasenhuttl in November led to the “Nathan Jones Experience” after he was appointed from Luton Town just a few days later.

Under Nathan Jones:

  • Saints continued to struggle.
  • The manager himself was to be at odds with a number of the clubs’ players.
  • The majority of supporters questioned his appointment from the day he arrived.
  • He only lasted until February and was fired by the club in what turned out to be a disastrous appointment.

Sellés Takes Over

Rubén Sellés was then appointed caretaker manager after it appeared American former Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch reportedly turned down the chance to take over as he was only offered a contract till the end of the season.

Sellés was in his first-ever role as a head coach of a senior team and results and performances didn’t change massively leading to relegation.

While the managerial decisions have caused chaos and relegation, player performances have not been up to scratch with a few exceptions, like club captain James Ward-Prowse.

The club now need to identify who will lead them in the Championship next season, with Russell Martin, the Swansea City manager, the current favourite.

Of the players, Theo Walcott, Willy Caballero and Mohamed Elyounoussi are all out of contract this summer and it won’t be surprising to see them all leave the club in what could be quite a shake-up.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has his loan ending in the summer and his performances suggest he won’t return, although his contract with Arsenal is expiring this summer too so could be considered for his flexibility on a free transfer.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – MAY 13: A general view of the inside of the stadium, as empty seats can be seen, during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Fulham FC at Friends Provident St. Mary’s Stadium on May 13, 2023 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Roméo Lavia has drawn a lot of attention with some great performances when fit alongside Ward-Prowse in the centre of midfield. These two could well be considered transfer targets for Premier League sides this summer looking to take advantage of the Saints’ relegation.

Moussa Djenepo, Mislav Orsic, Ibrahima Diallo and Duje Caleta-Car also struggled to get runs in the first team and could consider moving back abroad with Orsic and Caleta-Car only arriving this season.

Ché Adams, Mohammed Salisu, Armel Bella-Kotchap and Kyle Walker-Peters all have at times gained attention from different teams this season, and last summer for some of them. While it seems, the club would be keen to keep hold of these four players, they may be keen on a move if interest comes around again.

Identity Needed

The lack of identity and mix of panic signings in the January transfer window showed the club are in need of a permanent decision on a manager and a style of play they are confident in building around.

Paul Onuachu was brought in for around £15 million but the tall, two-meter-high striker didn’t fit the pressing system and the club barely played in crosses with him on the field. This was just one example of this lack of joined-up thinking from philosophy to execution.

Carlos Alcaraz has been a particularly impressive signing and players like him, the returning Tino Lirvramento from injury, need to have a mix of experience and youth around them with players that can help them compete in the Championship and look to try and bounce back at the first attempt.

While a lot of the players let themselves down, their leadership was continuously questionable. The new manager needs to be selected carefully and the roster build for the new season needs to be more carefully carried out.

The finances of the Premier League make it incredibly hard to return to and stay in the longer your club is away. Saints need to bounce back quickly and still have quality in the team if they can get their house in order.