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Four positions Southampton need to strengthen

George Galpin discusses the work Saints need to do in the transfer market now that the manager's role has been sorted

Both Sadio Mané (left) and Victor Wanyama will need to be replaced this summer
Both Sadio Mané (left) and Victor Wanyama will need to be replaced this summer
Clive Rose/Getty Images

After the extensive recruitment process for the manager role vacated by Ronald Koeman's move to Everton was completed by the appointment of Claude Puel, the attention inevitably turns to transfers.

Whilst Les Reed and the Southampton hierarchy have already been busy in the transfer market, with the departures of Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mané to Tottenham and Liverpool being offset somewhat by the arrival of Nathan Redmond, Puel will still want to bring in new blood.

Despite The Daily Echo reporting that the Frenchman is willing to wait to fully assess his squad before looking to recruit, Puel will at some stage look to put his stamp on the squad. Here are four areas that the transfer committee should be looking to reinforce:

Defensive Midfield

A fairly obvious place to start is just in front of the defence, with a hole made even bigger by the departure of Wanyama to North London. Whilst the reaction to Kenyan's move from fans was somewhat mixed because of last season's disciplinary record, the Saints definitely missed the anchorman whenever he was suspended.

While Oriol Romeu was adequate cover for Wanyama last season, the lack of strength in the other defensive midfield options and the added Europa League games with all the logistics involved means that another anchorman is needed alongside the former Chelsea man.

Nampalys Mendy, the Nice vice-captain under Puel, would have been an ideal candidate for the role but as Leicester have already snapped up the Frenchman, that name has to be scribbled off the list.


Despite the fee received for Mané being significantly more than what was accepted for Wanyama, the task of replacing him is just as hard even with the extra funds available.

However, the fact that Mané was recruited outside the more obvious markets, like Spain or France, means that the infamous Black Box recruitment tool the club has should be able to help to find a suitable replacement, even though the Senegal international is a somewhat difficult player to really categorise.

A speedy wide-forward who scores a lot of goals and is able to play any attacking position, like Mané is, will be difficult to recruit but it is a position that is worth investing in, as with the big money received for the new Liverpool man proves.


A rather controversial choice given that the two current options for the role were recruited last summer, but the right-back slot was arguably the weakest area of the squad before Wanyama and Mané's departure.

The problem with Cédric and Cuco Martina is that their strengths and weaknesses are opposites of each other. Whilst the Portuguese international is strong going forward, the defensive side of his game leaves a lot to be desired; a big part of why Ronald Koeman left him out of the starting XI during large parts of last season.

Martina may have impressed somewhat despite a somewhat underwhelming reaction to his arrival but, the goal against Arsenal aside, the Curacao defender doesn't have the same impact going forward that Nathaniel Clyne had.

All things considered, a right-back who can defend well is important for a squad that is strong in the ‘Goals Conceded' column, but with Puel favouring formations where the width comes from the full-backs, a defender who is capable in both halves in the mould of Ryan Bertrand on the other flank would be a wise investment.

Attacking Midfield

A new ‘Number 10' is a sort of a wildcard pick; Puel and his staff may consider the other positions to be of higher priority, or even a back-up goalkeeper slot may be required before a new playmaker.

Having said that, the attacking midfield slot is a position that even the black box has struggled to solve. Gaston Ramirez was meant to be the solution but his big-money arrival did not live up to expectations.

Not since Adam Lallana have the Saints had a regular goalscorer from midfield, with his direct replacement Dušan Tadić being much more at ease on the left flank and Koeman struggling to find a place for a number ten in his typical 4-3-3 formation.

Whilst Steven Davis is an important member of the squad, the Northern Irishman is coming towards the end of his career and Puel may feel that the time to seek his replacement is this summer, especially with his own success with Hatem Ben Arfa last season.