As I read through the #SaintsFC feed on Twitter, one rather large discussion has become the prospect of Southampton not signing anyone in the January transfer window. We are nearing the middle of November, and only a few Saints are injured. Shane Long, who is expected to be near fit after the international break, Florin Gardos has tweeted that he should be back in January and Fraser Forster is reportedly 4-6 weeks from returning. So let's dive in and take a look at the big question:
Maarten Stekelenburg- The current Saints #1, who will be a quality backup once Fraser returns.
Kelvin Davis/Paulo Gazzaniga- Saints current backups who can both be placed under the same umbrella as a bit of a liability when they are in the match.
Fraser Forster- The probable #1 upon return, who probably (definitely) would've won the Golden Gloves last season until he was injured.
REVIEW: Had the news about Fraser Forster's return not come out, I would most likely be writing that Saints could use one more keeper, as cover for any injury to Stek, however with a return likely by January, Forster will become #1 as Stek goes to the bench. Barring any setbacks from Forster, any injuries to the other 3 keepers or a possible recall from loan on Stekelenburg, Southampton should be fine at the keeper position in January and for the rest of the season.
Cedric- Most matches has been the #1 and has, in my opinion, been an upgrade over Nathaniel Clyne. His attacking play especially, has caught my eye.
Maya Yoshida- Has been the #1 at times this season, and with the dominant force of Fonte and Van Dijk at CB, moving to RB could turn out to be a good career move for Maya, who has impressed on occasion. If anything, he is solid cover for Cedric, should he be injured.
Cuco Martina- Ah yes, the rather interesting signing from FC Twente who looked to be Cedric's backup, has hardly featured for Saints.
Jason McCarthy- Currently on loan with Wycombe until January, however should the need arise, the youth academy player could provide cover as well.
REVIEW: We are pretty well covered at RB, including even Steven Caulker who can also play there if needed. However, if no injuries occur, I would just look for Maya and Cedric to get the majority of time here.
Ryan Bertrand- The obvious choice here. Bertrand has exceeded all expectations since arriving on the south coast last season and remains our clear-choice #1.
Matt Targett- The young lad who started the season at LB due to Bertrand's absence is strong cover for Ryan should anything go wrong. Targett will be a star in years to come.
REVIEW: Although a little short on true LB's, Southampton has a plethora of defenders who, if truly needed, can play on the left side. Once again, barring any injuries, Saints should be fine here.
Jose Fonte- The captain, who has signed another new contract this season, has been the anchor of a strong defensive backline this season.
Virgil Van Dijk- Toby who? The Dutch defender has been everything Saints' fans hoped he would be. Southampton needed a strong pairing at CB, and they've found yet another one.
Yoshida/Caulker/Gardos- I don't personally rate any of these 3 any higher than the other, which is good, because these guys are fully capable of providing backup for Fonte and Van Dijk when needed. Gardos is set, according to him, to return in January which will be good for the competition to find a place in the subs.
REVIEW: With Gardos' return in January and barring a recall of Steven Caulker, Southampton should be set for the season at CB.
Victor Wanyama- The mighty Kenyan, who since his "episode" at the end of the Summer window, has been at 100%. He is the clear choice at DM while he's available.
Jordy Clasie- The big signing of the Summer, who has shown flashes of brilliance, will be a very good #1 in our DM pairing once he is fully acclimated to the Premier League.
Oriol Romeu- The former Chelsea man has exceeded most expectations since arriving on the south coast. Some think he earned a fulltime starting spot during the absence of Clasie, however with the amount of money spent on Clasie, it'll be tough to beat him out for full playing time.
James Ward-Prowse- The young lad who has star potential in the midfield. Since his move to DM, he has impressed, but due to the strong play of the other 3, he may be our 4th choice DM at times.
Harrison Reed- The young player who has seemingly either fallen out of favor with Koeman or can just simply not break a spot on the bench with the quality ahead of him. If needed however, he provides solid cover.
REVIEW: Not knowing who to select each game is a great problem to have. Saints are set here.
Steven Davis- The man who some is overrated and underrated by others. He brings a flow to the team and apparently, has become a goal scorer. He is a solid part of our attack and should stay as our #1 when healthy.
Gaston Ramirez- Nobody even knows if Gaston will see another game. He had an assist at Anfield and has gone missing once again from the 18. The latest rumors are that he could be gone in January and I think the Southampton board would help him pack his bags if true.
Tadic/Juanmi/Mane- All 3 of these guys are capable (Tadic and Mane the better) of playing behind Pelle and in the CM/CF role if needed.
REVIEW: This may be the one position I could see Southampton improving upon, however that may be more of a job for the Summer window. If these guys stay healthy, this position shouldn't be a worry, especially as James Ward-Prowse is fully capable of playing here when needed as well.
Dusan Tadic- The #1 guy on the left. Can send a ball in to wherever it needs to be and is one of Southampton's most creative players.
Sadio Mane- I personally prefer seeing Mane on the right, however he is a complete winger so he would do very well on the left as well.
Jay Rodriguez- As a newer fan, I haven't been able to enjoy the Jay Rodriguez that could've been on the England World Cup squad. Instead, I've watched the not 100% Jay. However, when fully fit, he will provide a strong backup to Tadic and could possibly break his way onto the starting XI at times.
REVIEW: Saints have multiple other options on the left side such as Shane Long, which makes this position a comfortable one.
Sadio Mane- Like Tadic on the left, Mane is a creative player who can turn the game around with one run. His partnership down the right side with Cedric is a beautiful thing to watch.
Shane Long- When needed, just like the left side, Shane's speed can change a game.
REVIEW: Both of our wings have multiple players who can reside and play well in the position, however, Tadic and Mane are the clear #1's on the wings and that shouldn't change. Southampton is set here as well.
Graziano Pelle- The beautiful Italian. Can do pretty much anything he wants to with the ball in the air, holds up play and distributes brilliantly. A clear top guy and that shouldn't and won't change anytime soon. Although a reported target for Manchester United and Juventus, Pelle will not be sold in January.
Long/Mane/Rodriguez/Juanmi- As Pelle is the clear #1, these guys can all do a job behind him if needed. Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez the typical strikers while Sadio Mane playing up front could be dangerous as well.
REVIEW: This and the CM position are the only two spots I could even see likely that Saints could bring in during the January window. However, I don't see it being too likely.
THE FINAL VERDICT
I am under the impression that by the end of January, Southampton will be 100% fit. The only players missing will be players loaned out and the only possible departure could be Gaston, maybe. Even with Gaston gone and no new injuries, Saints should be set to march on for the rest of the season WITHOUT adding any more players in January.
This is just my opinion. What are your thoughts? Let's discuss!
Follow me on Twitter for any more discussion: @tscottt1028