Southampton’s good start to their Premier League campaign has raised the profile of some of the Saints star players.
The club from the south coast have three players in the England squad for the friendlies at Wembley against Chile and Germany.
Talisman and striker Rickie Lambert almost now seems like an old hand at international level compared to newcomers Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez, but the former-Rochdale striker has only made three appearances for Roy Hodgson’s team
Lallana and Rodriguez are deserving of their call-ups to Roy Hodgson’s England squad. Both players impressed in spells last season, but in recent months seem to have found a consistently high level of performance.
In fact, Rodriguez is probably the Saints most in-form player in recent weeks. The former-Burnley star has done well to keep his place in the Saints team, after the arrival of fellow attacker Dani Osvaldo looked set to hand him stiff competition for his place.
Rodriguez has been switched from a central striking berth to a role on the wing in recent months and he has thrived. The striker of Spanish descent could now make his England debut with Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck pulling out of the squad through injury.
Lallana has been one of Southampton’s best performers for the past couple of seasons. Lallana was previously called-up to the England squad for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine, but the midfielder did not get onto the pitch.
The good performances of some of Southampton’s players this so far seem to have the Premier League vultures circling over the Saints best players. Lallana, Rodriguez and even full-back Luke Shaw have all been linked with moves away from St Marys in the last week.
According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal and Liverpool are looking to make a move for Jay Rodriguez in January, while the Metro claims that full-back Luke Shaw is on Tottenham’s transfer wish list. The Metro are also linking Lallana with move to Liverpool.
The speculation about the players proves that they are playing well. However, Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino is building for the future. I am sure that the Argentinian would not be happy if a number of his key players were sold.
Southampton are not a club that are poor or need to sell players. The Saints are financially comfortable and unless stupid offers come in for their best players I doubt that the club would even entertain them.
There is also the question of whether the players would actually want to leave St Marys. Something really positive has been taking place at Southampton over the last few years and many players will be encouraged by the way the club have gone about their business in recent years.
The clubs owner and board are ambitious and want Southampton to go to the very top. The appointment of Pochettino as manager has proved an absolute masterstroke. The Argentinian has the club playing some superb football, and more importantly the Saints are winning games.
All signs point to a positive future for the club from the south coast. That may well be enough to keep the likes of Shaw, Lallana and Rodriguez happy.
The Southampton academy has a fantastic success rate over the last decade. Lallana, Shaw and midfielder James Ward-Prowse are all graduates from the academy. All three are regulars in the team.
The biggest product of the Saints academy is Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale though. The Welshman became the world’s most expensive player when he moved from Tottenham to Los Blancos this summer in a deal worth £85million.
The Southampton board has big plans for the academy and they are hoping that in the near future the majority of the Saints first team players can be brought through their own youth system. That means that the club could eventually be almost self-sustaining, which would be a major advantage in these harsh financial times.
With Southampton going well in the Premier League, the in-demand players seem happy with the Saints. They have no need to look at moving clubs. The grass is not always greener on the other side and I really hope that the Saints keep hold of all their best players.
Can Southampton keep hold of their key players?