Southampton 2014/15 transfer review
For a mid-table club, Southampton had a busy summer in 2014 with a total of £92m worth of talent leaving the club, while Saints spent almost £67m on new signings.
Southampton were victims of their own success the previous season as bigger clubs cherry-picked their stars and manager Mauricio Pochettino. The general goal was to fill the void left by important players who moved on.
Key players out
Skipper Adam Lallana was clearly the most important player who Southampton had to let go.
Liverpool paid £25m for his services but Southampton lost a truly gifted technician who is comfortable with the ball at both feet, has a great eye for a pass and is excellent on the half-turn.
Luke Shaw was the most expensive player to depart. The teenager showed qualities of a top class full-back: pace, sublime crossing technique and the engine to frequently bomb forward. For such a young player, Shaw has all the attributes he needs to become one of the best left-backs in the world.
Dejan Lovren had only gone through the first season of his four-year contract at Southampton but the Saints could not hold on to him. During his 12 months on the south coast, the Croatian defender had a powerful presence and was also brilliant at organising the back-four so Liverpool were happy to pay double (£20m) the amount Southampton spent on the defender.
Liverpool also pounced on Southampton’s chief striker Rickie Lambert, who was a crucial player for the Saints as he averaged a goal every two games.
Lambert is also adept at dropping into midfield looking to create chances for the likes of Lallana and Jay Rodriguez. The former Rochdale forward assisted 10 league goals in his last season at Southampton.
Key players signed
The most impressive recruitment for Southampton was manager Ronald Koeman himself as he got the best out of every decent player the club signed. Goalkeeper Fraser Forster (£10m) instantly became one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League with his composure and physical presence.
Another £10 million signing, Ryan Bertrand, slotted in seamlessly at left-back. The former Chelsea full-back was initially on loan during the first-half of the season when he proved that he was more than capable of replacing Shaw, so the Saints ended up making the deal permanent.
Dusan Tadic directly replaced Lallana. He was the first signing under Koeman because the Dutch boss was aware of his consistency in creating goals. The Serbian cost Southampton less than half the fee they got for Lallana but extended his assists record to the Premier League and can play in all the attacking midfield positions.
Graziano Pelle joined as a target man capable of replicating Lambert’s influence in terms of leading the attacks. For a £9m striker, Pelle was a shrewd signing for the Saints given that he is just as good a finisher as Lambert but four years younger.
Shane Long and Sadio Mane also cost about £10m each, which was good business when considering their qualities. They both added pace, energy and alternative centre forward options as they can play in any of the front-four positions.
Southampton spent almost £25m less than they earned with the players they sold yet Koeman’s charges are much stronger than Pochettino’s Southampton.
In terms of money spent and the results, Southampton had the most successful summer of all Premier League sides.