Prior to Mauricio Pochettino leaving Southampton for Tottenham, I wrote an article stating that I hoped that the Saints could continue their development without their Argentinian and his exit would not signal a mass exodus.
This summer Southampton has lost the core of a very good team.
Talismanic striker Rickie Lambert has joined boyhood heroes Liverpool and England playmaker Adam Lallana looks set to follow the striker to Merseyside in a deal reportedly worth £25million.
One of the most promising young players in English football full-back Luke Shaw has headed for Manchester United in a deal worth £30million.
It could get much worse for Southampton, as Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren is also believed to be pushing for a move.
France international midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has refused to comment on his future, as speculation mounts that both Arsenal and Tottenham are tracking the midfield star.
I have to see to say it is disappointing as a neutral to watch this highly regarded Southampton team break-up. I enjoyed watching Southampton under Pochettino. The players all bought into the Argentinian’s ideas and the team got their reward with decent performances.
If it is disappointing for me as a neutral I cannot even imagine what Southampton fans are thinking right now after such a decent season.
There was a really positive feel about Southampton Football Club and the direction it was going in last season. Everybody was praising their players and suddenly Southampton had four players in the England squad in Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Jay Rodriguez.
Everybody was talking about the football that was being played at St Marys and looking for the Saints to progress in the future.
Southampton will now be looking to make a fresh start with Dutch legend Ronald Koeman at the helm of the club. He enjoyed an illustrious playing career, having been part of Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’ at Barcelona.
His managerial career has been pretty steady in his homeland, but his furores into foreign leagues have not been as successful.
The encouraging thing about Koeman though is despite spending his career as a defender as a manager he likes his teams to play attacking football, which should fit in well at St Marys. Having played under Cruyff and in that fantastic Barcelona team how could he not want his charges to play attacking football?
The Southampton hierarchy have vowed to re-invest the money received this summer from the sale of their highly-rated players. Ronald Koeman has a big recruitment drive on his hands this summer, with the prospect of even more players following former boss Pochettino out the St Marys exit door.
It may take time for Koeman to settle in at the club and into English football, as he has no experience of playing or managing in the Premier League. The situation on the south coast could be a major test for the former Ajax boss.
Koeman does speak English and has been brushing up on the language in preparation to do the job. There will be no interpreter needed here me thinks and all signs suggest that he could become a popular figure amongst Saints fans.
One of Koeman’s first jobs this summer will be to replace the outgoing players. As it is the Dutchman should have £50million-plus to bring in new players, which could buy a lot of quality, as long as you’re not attempting to sign English players that is!
Koeman has to bring in the right players and get the fans positive again about their club, after a summer that has saw three key players leave.
I am a big fan of both Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana, but to be honest their transfer fees have been inflated because they are English players. Foreign players of the same standard would not cost the same fees.
If Southampton were going to sell their players then it is good that they have received so much money for them.
Southampton has a strong academy that seems to continually churn out players and that will probably keep doing so. The likes of Calum Chambers, James Ward-Prowse and Sam Gallagher were examples of young players from the Saints academy featuring for the Saints last season.
This sounds strange, but Southampton could even emerge from this summer stronger than last season. They will have a boss who is hungry for success and players who want to play for the club.
Who knows the sales of talented, but overpriced stars like Shaw and Lallana could be a positive for the Saints. Let’s hope so anyway.
Can Southampton recover from summer sales?