Southampton Football Club’s squad of star players has been practically stripped bare by this summer’s transfer market. In many ways, it’s incredibly sad to see a good club rise the way they did only to be torn down. The changes beg the question, what is the goal of the club? Are they being smart, an English version of Udinese, or just a sad example of the faults of modern soccer?
The exodus at Southampton has seen Calum Chambers, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Dejan Lovren move to clubs higher up the Premier League table, while the club’s manager joined Tottenham. Now Ronald Koeman has the unenviable task of trying to pick up the pieces to form a team, as well as integrating their two new signings, including Graziano Pelle.
Not surprisingly, the PR the club is getting is incredibly negative, and recent comments from Chairman Ralph Krueger about Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez not being sold feel like lip service to stem the tidal wave, and it’s already bitten him in the rear end. Naturally Southampton fans are getting frustrated with the constant rumors of players leaving and none more coming, but with the current talk that Krueger and manager Ronald Koeman have a “if they want to leave, let them” policy, it doesn’t look like the outgoing tide will stem anytime soon.
Maybe selling the Southampton players now is smart since many of the players may never replicate their successes again. And so what if they have, Southampton can become a very sustainable club somewhat like Udinese in scouting, developing, and then eventually selling players for massive profits to continue the cycle. Even if they are a prime example of the somewhat cannibalistic nature of modern soccer’s transfer pyramid, odds are they can produce even better players in the future through their incredibly impressive academy.
It stings now for Saints fans and casual onlookers who were entranced by the beautiful soccer they played a season ago, but as a new club emerges and more than likely will struggle this season, Southampton can define themselves in a way that no English club has, and it may well be for everyone’s benefit… even if it doesn’t seem like it.
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