Having come in from work about an hour or so ago, I was looking around for things to write about. The January transfer window isn’t living up to the hype at the moment, that’s for sure. Everton have paid £11 million pounds for a League One player and Joey Barton has signed for Burnley despite being on the verge of a life ban for betting offences. I’m sure that’s the kind of hot gossip that gets Sky Sports Jim White up in the morning.
However, I then saw that Jose Fonte, the Southampton centre half and captain who has been with club eight years helping the club back to the premier league from the grim days of League One, has handed in a transfer request.
Apparently negotiations have broken down despite efforts by the club to tie Fonte down to a new deal. I would imagine that the reason for the hold up would down to money as usual. It always is, it wouldn’t be the Premier League without greed.
I suppose you can’t blame Fonte who has apparently caught Manchester United’s eye with his performances. But with him on the wrong side of 30, I can’t see Jose Mourinho going in for him even though Fonte is quicker than Phil Jones. Harsh but fair I know. But then, if I was going to write a list of things quicker than Phil Jones I could be here some time.
This latest transfer story involving the Saints has got me thinking about how many players they have sold in the last few seasons to the top six. When Southampton came up to the Premier League in 2012 they had the majority of their squad who got them back to back promotions for League One to the Premier League. They were a side mixed with journeymen and youngsters from the academy and it brought success to the team.
Since the end of that season, they have become an easy prey for scouts for the top six teams. Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin were both sold to Man United for a collective sum of £55 million. An unbelievable sum for two quite ordinary players, though Luke Shaw is still young and is recovering from injury so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. In Schneiderlin’s case however, It’s very likely by the time this article is published he will be out of the door to Everton.
It’s no surprise to you observant readers that the club to benefit most from the talent factory on the South coast is Liverpool. Lambert, Lovern, Lallana, Clyne and Mane have all made the trip to Anfield over the last three years.
Apart from Lambert all of these players have made Liverpool a better side over the last two seasons with Lallana and Mane in particular showing brilliant form this season. £100 million in transfer fees came the other way which satisfies the money men at any football club.
Callum Chambers is one of many from the talent line in the Saints academy to be sold onto Arsenal and joins former players Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the Emirates. In that particular transfer Saints made over £10 million on an academy player who hadn’t even played 50 games for the first team. Chambers however hasn’t kicked on and has suffered the embarrassment of being sent to Middlesboro.
So it’s safe to say the bank manager at Southampton FC is very happy indeed. But are the replacements up to scratch? People like Tadic, Bertrand and Van Dijk point to a yes vote but it’s the managers being brought in which is also very successful.
Pochettino set the standards in his two years at the club, Spurs then pinched him before Ronald Koeman was pinched even harder by Everton. After the pinching came the punch. Claude Puel- the man no one had ever heard of before getting the Saints job and has since managed to lose the fans in six months.
On the surface, Saints are flying high in eighth place. Speak to the fans and you get the truth – this season has seen more disappointment. Boring football played by very average players brought in over the course of last summer. Nathan Redmond in particular is getting a hard time from the fans as of late.
Four defeats in a row have pushed some fans over the edge and calling for Puel’s head after the West Brom game. To be fair any team who loses to West Brom calls for the manager’s head.
If Fonte leaves with the very highly rated Van Dijk, it seems clear to me that they will drop like a stone. You can’t keep selling your best players and hope to be successful, even if you are stinking rich after it.