Tag Archives: Southampton

Is Virgil Van Dijk Set to Remain at Southampton?

One of the longest transfer sagas of the summer continues to rumble on. Virgil Van Dijk has been heavily linked with a move away from St Mary’s having been linked with clubs such as Arsenal and Liverpool but the big defender who is valued at around £60 million might end up staying on the south coast.

The Dutchman was believed to be keen on a move to Merseyside and even handed in a transfer request claiming he was The 26-year-old had expressed his desire to leave the Premier League club and is rumoured to have made his stance clear to the Southampton hierarchy however as of the middle of August, he still remains a saints player.

It’s been a summer of change at the club with manager Claude Puel departing and being replaced by former Alaves coach Mauricio Pellegrino. Puel failed to inspire during his one season at the club and his brand of football was described as ‘boring’ and ‘predictable’ by a number of fans. The Saints failed to win any of their last five home matches whilst also drawing blanks in each of those contests under the Frenchman who eventually paid the price for his ultra-conservative approach.

The club have won just twice at St Mary’s since the beginning of the calendar year with many of the supporters visibly frustrated and very few of them shed a tear when Puel was given his marching orders at the end of the campaign.

Van Dijk will now be working under the progressive Pellegrino who guided unfashionable Alaves to a mid-table finish in La Liga and a Copa Del Rey final where they were narrowly beaten by Barcelona. New club captain Steven Davis has told the media that the new boss is a ‘ and that all the players have enjoyed working with him and training with a smile on their faces. Despite the positivity, Southampton still failed to score against Swansea on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.

Van Dijk didn’t feature in that match amid the intense speculation surrounding his future with Yoshida and Jack Stephens combining to keep a clean sheet. Despite dominating the game, the Hampshire club were left frustrated in front of goal once again but Pellegrino insisted afterwards that ‘the goals will come’.

Despite a poor end to the campaign, Southampton still finished 8th in the final Premier League table albeit 15 points shy of Everton in 7th position and with a disappointing goal difference of -7. Van Dijk’s insistence that he requires ‘a new challenge’ hasn’t gone down well with supporters many of whom believe the club should cash in on their star asset.

Southampton have apparently this week as they look to the future without Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutch centre-half is likely to command a fee in the region of £16 million but comes off the back of a superb season in Serie A with Lazio. Simone Inzaghi’s side reached the Coppa Italia final and snuck into the European places last year with Hoedt a huge part of their success. The 23 year old has already been linked to both Everton and Leicester City this summer and is believed to be keen on a move to the Premier League.

The club have also added Juventus’ Mario Lemina to their squad this week in a deal reported to be worth £18 million. The Gabon International signs a five-year deal on the south coast and becomes the club’s second addition of the summer. The midfielder has also been linked with fellow Premier League outfit Watford and becomes the clubs record signing.

Van Dijk has also been linked with Chelsea and Manchester City throughout this transfer window although Liverpool is believed to be his favoured destination. Jurgen Klopp’s side were once again left defensively exposed as they conceded three times to Watford on the opening Saturday of the season with Reds fans urging their side to sign reinforcements for the season ahead.

Southampton have a couple of home matches before embarking on their first away trip of the season making the long journey to West Yorkshire to take on Premier League new-boys Huddersfield Town and Pellegrino will be hoping to have a new defender in place before they visit the John Smith’s Stadium. The Saints lack of firepower has meant many punters have been regularly backing Under 2.5 Goals and both Half Time Draw and a 0-0 Final Score were correctly selected by the in their preview of the Saints recent encounter with Swansea.

In the latest twist to the long-running transfer saga, Southampton chairman Ralph Kreuger has insisted that Van Dijk is not for sale in this transfer window. The unsettled centre-half is unlikely to be pleased by the statement but his path away from the club looks like it may be blocked.

The club have also asked the FA to investigate an illegal approach from Liverpool alleged to have taken place in June. This could delay any possibility of a completed transfer until the January window. Chinese businessman Jisheng Gao has reportedly purchased a stake in the Premier League outfit this week and is believed to have paid in the region of £210 million for his share. Following the completion of the deal, the club issued a statement declaring “Today is the start of a new and exciting chapter for our club”.

Kreuger defiantly suggested that keeping hold of the wantaway defender is a statement of intent and will help the Saints shed their unwanted tag of a ‘selling club’ following wholesale departures for the last couple of summers. Morgan Schneiderlin, Adam Lallana and Ryan Bertrand have all made big money moves away from the club in recent transfer windows leaving a huge re-building for the side on each occasion. The chairman went on to praise his manager for the way he has dealt with the issue in the press.

In an interview for the club’s website this week, Van Dijk’s teammate Nathan Redmond has for another season as Southampton aim to break into the top six of the Premier League. He also added that the pair have agreed not to mention any transfer speculation whilst training together.

The Dutchman has reportedly been knuckling down and maintaining his fitness despite the lack of game time at the club and is believed to have been training as normal with the rest of the squad although he was not invited to attend the club’s recent pre-season tours of both Austria and Switzerland.

So where does all of this leave Van Dijk?

The former Celtic defender may wish to play his football elsewhere but patience may be required. It is believed his agent helped arrange meetings with potential suitors despite the clubs disapproval and the Dutchman must be careful not to burn any bridges with his current employer.

He will want to avoid finding himself in limbo once the transfer window has slammed shut. He has not been exiled by Pellegrino yet which suggests that the Argentinean boss would welcome him back into the fold should he fail to secure a move away from the club.

Van Dijk has until the end of August to decide where his future lies. The club are hoping that any move fails to materialise and they will do everything within their power to keep hold of the talented centre-half. Liverpool are still the favourites to secure the signature of the 26 year old according to the betting markets as their need for a new defender intensifies. It’s been a strange few months for the Dutchman who will surely just be desperate for his future to be decided one way or another.

Are the Saints the New Swans: Why Money Isn’t a Precursor for Premier League Success

For years, Swansea were held up as the model Premier League club by experts and fans alike, however things have not been looking quite so rosy of late. Meanwhile, Southampton seem to be quietly going about their business and winning plaudits for their excellent continuity plans. Just what makes a model club anyway?

When it comes to football, especially at the highest levels in England, money is king. Like it or not, money can often buy you a Premier League title, and as is often the case, victory results in more money flooding into the most successful clubs. In reality, money makes the footballing world go round, but sometimes a club rises up and breaks the mould.

Turning Water into Wine: Swansea Toasting Success on a Budget

Image result for southampton soccersouls

Although cash-rich clubs like Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United still dominate the top flight, recent years have seen clubs like Swansea perform minor miracles on a comparatively meagre budget. According to the 2014 Price of Football study, Swansea were deemed a “model” club thanks to their approach to ticket pricing. Instead of creating a huge disparity between the “best” tickets and the “worst”, Swansea’s price structure was, essentially, flat.

At the time, the most expensive season ticket was £499 while the least expensive was just £70 less at £429. In contrast, Wales’ other top team, Cardiff were charging £689 for their top season tickets and £320 for the cheapest. However, despite having some of the lowest ticket prices in the Premier League and an annual wage bill of just £63 million in 2015 (for comparison Man City’s 2015 wage bill was £193 million), Swansea have managed to hang with the big boys.

After graduating from the Championship in 2011, the Swans finished 11th in their first season and have since managed to hover around that mark. This success has been in spite of the current trend in football for spending vast sums of money on wages, players, kits and stadiums. Although the Premier League is unlikely to ever follow the German system of fans owning a large percentage of their clubs to help keep prices low, Swansea have so far managed to prove it is possible here in the UK by making a success out of following this model.

Saints Answer Fans Prayers by Performing Swansea-Style Miracles

Unfortunately, the 2016-2017 Premier League season hasn’t been as forgiving for the Swans. After nine games the Welsh wizards were languishing in 19th place, and many have since questioned how strong the club’s “budget football” model really is. Indeed, five points from a possible 27 is poor by any club’s standards, but is there a new cut-price player in town?

According to the latest  odds, Southampton are 25/1 to finish in the top four. Compare that to the 500/1 price tag odds makers have stuck on Swansea, and it’s easy to see why many people are now calling the Saints the new Swans.

Delving further into the numbers, Southampton’s highest paid players are currently earning £55,000-a-week. Despite being a staggering amount of money, that figure is markedly lower than the £290,000-a-week fee Man United’s Paul Pogba commands. Overall, Southampton’s annual wage bill is a capped at £59.5 million which, interestingly, isn’t far off Swansea’s £63 million total.

For this comparatively meagre spend, Claude Puel has managed to lift Southampton to ninth in the Premier League after nine games. In fact, when you look at the league stats a little closer, the side’s 11 goals for is only two shy of Man United, Everton and Tottenham. Given this early rush of success, it’s easy to see why the Saints are now starting to attract some money in the sports betting world.

However, while it’s clear that money doesn’t necessarily have to buy success in the Premier League, the question remains: how are teams like Swansea and Southampton managing to defy the odds? The romantic answer would be: heart and desire. As Leicester City showed last season, teamwork and determination can often make up for a lack of world-class individual talent.

Playing for the Fans is a Winning Formula

While this is likely part of the reason why smaller clubs on a budget can compete in the Premier League, there has to be something else. In one sense, it’s possible to say it’s the fans that have pushed Swansea to unthinkable heights. Affordable ticket prices means the Liberty Stadium is always packed to its 21,000 capacity. Having that many passionate fans – as opposed to rich men in suits with corporate seats – has to have a positive effect on the players.

However, the fans have also been influential in a more direct sense. Thanks to Chairman Huw Jenkins’ decision to sell shares to fans, the team now feels a debt of gratitude to the their supporters. Instead of playing for a faceless billionaire who is probably on a yacht somewhere on the other side of the world, Swansea’s players are faced with their shareholders each time they step on the pitch.

This, in essence, is a return to football and how it used to be. Before money and business became the name of the game, players were actually playing for the fans. Yes, it’s fair to say that there’s still a whiff of the corporate world at clubs like Swansea and Southampton, but it’s a far less intrusive odour than it is at places like Chelsea.

So, while it might be fair to say that the Saints are the new Swans this season, it doesn’t really matter because both clubs are setting a standard. By refusing to bow down to ridiculous wages and staying true to the fans, both clubs have still achieved a huge amount of success, and that should serve as a lesson to anyone in the game.

 

Southampton v Norwich: Lineups, Preview, Stats And Prediction

Southampton v Norwich

Sunday 30th August, 13:30

ea

Southampton have started the Premier League in somewhat innocuous fashion, having picked up two points from their opening three games. They will be looking to get back last season’s form in front of their home faithful this weekend, which could move them up the table as many as 10 places into eighth.

Norwich sit in eighth place in the league coming into this weekend, and will be looking to further improve their league standing with their second win of the season. Their first win came in a 3-1 away outing at Sunderland, and they will be hoping that they can make it six points from a possible six on the road with a win at the opposite end of the country to their first.

Southampton will be looking for another big performance from Cedric Soares at the back this weekend, to help deal with Norwich’s in form winger, Nathan Redmond. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index can reveal that he has won an impressive 91.7% of his 12 tackles so far this season, also racking up eight clearances, 11 interceptions and two blocks. On the ball he looks equally assured, having completed 72.7% of his 11 dribbles and even found himself an assist.

Redmond has had a good start to the season for the Canaries, and will need to continue in the same vein if he is to get the better of Soares. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index can reveal that he has hit the target with 60% of his five efforts, turning two into goals, with a further assist to his name. He has also won the same amount of tackles, again with a 60% win ratio, and this could be just as important as his attacking prowess if Soares manages to get on the front foot.

graziano pelle

Southampton’s main man up top, Graziano Pelle, has enjoyed a good start to the season, and will be looking to give Norwich’s Russell Martin a real test this weekend. The EA SPORTS Player Performance index tells us that he has hit the target three times this season, and will be looking to boost that number this weekend to increase his goal tally of one so far for the season. Whilst he has won his only tackle of the season, made five clearances and three interceptions, it is going forward where the Saints’ faithful will want to see him do damage. He is 11/2 to score anytime with 888sport.com.

Martin will know that he has a job on his hands to stop Pelle in his tracks, but the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights what a fine start to the season he has made. He has won all three of his tackles so far this season, also making an impressive 20 clearances, five interceptions and one block. Not only has he proved solid in defence, but also going forward having hit the target with all three of his attempts, turning two into goals. No matter which end of the pitch, both of these players’ performances may well have a bearing on the overall outcome of this match.

Southampton v Norwich Possible Lineups:

Southampton: Stekelenburg; Cedric, Fonte, Caulker, Yoshida; Targett, Romeu, S Davis, Ward-Prowse; Pelle, Rodriguez

Norwich: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Brady; Redmond, Tettey, Dorrans, Howson; Hoolahan; Jerome

Southampton v Norwich Match Facts:

  • Southampton have lost just one of their last nine meetings with Norwich City in all competitions (W3, D5, L1).
  • Norwich City have not won an away league match at Southampton since a 1-0 victory in the Championship in January 2008.
  • Southampton have won just one of their last nine Premier League games (W1, D3, L5), keeping one clean sheet in the process.
  • Both their Premier League goals this campaign have been headers. They scored only three Premier League headed goals last season, which was the fewest in the division.
  • Victory at Sunderland two weeks ago ended a run of 11 Premier League away games without a win for the Canaries (D3, L8).
  • Only once before have Norwich won their opening two away matches of a Premier League season. In 1993-94 they won 3-2 at Blackburn Rovers and 4-0 at Leeds.

Stats via BBC

Southampton v Norwich Prediction: 

A 1-1 draw.

Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars with at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate team.

 

Strongest England XI (Based On Form)

England manager Roy Hodgson will be naming the squad to take part in a couple of international fixtures next month and that has led to a lot of pundits and former players nominating Harry Kane to be part of the squad. Kane is probably England’s best striker, well at least the striker in form from the batch of English strikers playing.

Naming a squad is always a hard task and more often than not it is the big names who waltz into the team even if they have been performing rather poorly, so keeping that in mind here we present the England starting XI based on performances this season.

Fraser Forster

Current goalkeeper Joe Hart hasn’t been the most impressive this season either and in place of the Manchester City goalkeeper, the Southampton goalkeeper should play. Forster has been exceptional for the Saints this season and is partly the reason why the club are doing so well in the Premier League.

Leighton Baines

The fact that Baines faces almost no real competition for this spot is a worry for England. Baines nevertheless is one of the best left backs in the Premier League and is a shoe in to keep his place in the starting XI.

Phil Jagielka

Although Jagielka isn’t playing for the biggest club in the Premier League, he has been rock solid barring the first few games of the season where Everton were leaking goals from all sides. He is strong and good with the ball, plus his leadership skills are important for the back 4.

Gary Cahill

Another English defender who has been brilliant all season, Cahill might have had a couple of dire performances, but nothing can be taken away from the big defender, who has often played better than John Terry for Chelsea.

Nathaniel Clyne

Another Southampton star who has been in sparking form, Nathaniel Clyne is on the verge of becoming the best right back in England and at only 23 years old, he has a bright future ahead of him.

James Milner

James Milner is the kind of player every manager wants, always giving 100% for the team and doing whatever is needed. Milner has been one of the bright sparks from a disjointed Manchester City team and should be starting more games for England.

Mark Noble

The West Ham United midfielder might be a surprise choice for many, but his consistent performances for the club should ensure he gets another chance to prove himself on the international stage.

Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing has been given a new lease of life playing in a more central attacking role for West Ham United and the English attacker deserves to get another call up to the national side just to prove the doubters wrong.

Raheem Sterling

The 20 year old has been the star player for Liverpool in the second half of the season and even though there was that little issue with Raheem needing a rest in some earlier international games, he is a player who deserves to be in the XI.

Wayne Rooney

This one is a bit of a tough decision, not many English strikers are doing well and Rooney has been deployed more in midfield this season than as an attacker, but he still has done well in that position. He should play up front for England.

Harry Kane

The man of the moment, nothing really can go wrong for this striker. Kane has scored 23 goals in all competitions all season and with most English strikers struggling to score, he should be starting up front for the national side.

football formations

Manchester United Transfers: Van Gaal To Revive Interest In In-form English Full-back

According to the latest reports from Mirror, Manchester United are back in the race to sign Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne.

Manchester United and manager Louis van Gaal wish to secure a spot in the top four and have strongly suggested, have their sights set on the FA Cup as well. For this purpose, the club needs reinforcements and van Gaal has shown an interest in a list of quality players to add to the squad. Among the players is his wish list, the Dutch manager has keen interest in Southampton full-back Nathaniel Clyne who has been quite impressive this season with his performances till date. The 23 year old has also broken into the England set-up and is being watched by a list of clubs including United.

Manager Louis van Gaal feels, the youngster would be a perfect fit at United and could be the solution to this season’s defensive problems. Manchester United who had tried to sign the former Crystal Palace man Clyne before he moved to Southampton in 2012 are still quite interested in the right-back as he looks like a bright prospect for the future. The United manager is in need of a top quality right back to bloster his defence and would prefer someone of high quality to do the job which he clearly sees in Clyne.

Clyne is trying to establish himself in the national team at the moment and has another 18 months left on his current deal at St. Marys’. Southampton will surely look to keep the defender at the club, though it would be quite a struggle as the player is attracting a lot of attention from some big clubs. Liverpool are also keeping tabss on the defender, but United seem more intent on bringing him to Old Trafford at the moment. Further where the player ends up would depend on talks between him and the clubs, as all three clubs look to push for a spot in the Champions League at the moment and the race intensifies with every game.

Transfer Blow For Arsenal As French Defensive Midfielder Unlikely To Move In January

According to the Mirror.co.uk, French International and Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin is all-set to finish the ongoing season at St. Mary’s Park after he admitted that it will be delicate”to leave during the ongoing January Transfer window.

The France midfielder tried his best for a transfer last summer but he was not released by the club and is now being tracked by Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.

Asked by French TV show Telefoot whether he will leave in January or June, the £27m-rated star said: “That I don’t know. January is always a delicate month to leave in. I will finish my season with Southampton and then see what happens in the future. I don’t get worried about these things anymore. If this summer I have learned something, you can never think: I am gone, gone for good. I don’t set my mind on these things anymore. What should happen will happen. Since this summer, I learned that you should never think that you’re gone before you actually did.”

Speaking on Schneiderlin, former Arsenal player Ray Parlour has said that he wants Arsenal to sign the Frenchman.

“Morgan Schneiderlin – I’d definitely sign him. He would be perfect for my old team Arsenal, absolutely, whether you can get him or not [I don’t know] because Southampton are in a very good position at the moment, they don’t want to let any of their players go at least until the end of the season,” ,” Parlour told talkSport.

Schneiderlin scored for Southampton against Ipswich Town in their 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s Park in FA Cup third round match yesterday.

Southampton Complete Loan Move For Attacker Considered To Be The Next Balotelli

Eljero Elia

It took just 5 minutes to see the first signing of January Transfer Window to take place as dark horses for Top 4 in this season’s EPL Southampton have signed the Dutch Winger Eljero Elia on loan from Werder Bremen till the end of the season. Elia is a gifted player and at times with gifted player comes their attitude and Elia seems to have got that in plenty.

Southampton are flying high in the league and one of the main reason has been talked about is the amazing dressing room spirit, which Koeman has built. In all of this signing a player like Eljero Elia, who has had a history of disrupting the team’s spirits comes as a surprising signing by someone like Ronald Koeman.

Eljero Elia has been drawn in the lines of Mario Balotelli due to his off-field behavior. It is evident by one of his incidences when Elia once came to training straight from the night club, and literally told fans to go f**k themselves, and subsequently he got removed from the squad completely.

Ronald Koeman has come out and defended Eljero Elia. Koeman spoke to BBC and gave the following statement on Elia being likened to Balotelli due to his antics.

Elijero Elia given shirt #22

“If I had doubts regarding his private life, then I wouldn’t sign him. It’s all due to the press and rumours and these rumours it’s not true. We need some really good players who want to develop themselves and be professional here at St.Mary’s Park. He is happy because he was looking to progress to the next step of his career because he has not been playing in Germany. He is a very good option for us and it is very good for both parties involved. Also, I believe in his qualities as he is fast, can play from the left and the right, and can take people on, one against one. He is hungry and that is the most important thing.” Koeman told BBC on signing Elijero Elia.

Eljero Elia’s debut for Southampton will most probable against Manchester United on 11th January 2015. He has been given #22 shirt by Southampton.

Arsene Wenger Delighted With Combative Arsenal Performance

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was both relieved and happy after his side grinded out a result against Derby opponents West Ham United. The Gunners took a 2-0 lead but looked far from convincing in the final half an hour as the Hammers piled on the pressure in the search for an equaliser.

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Wenger was quoted saying by the club’s official website, “It was a very important game for us and we knew that we had a very physical game in front of us.

“I was a bit worried because we played with 10 men for 40 minutes against QPR and had to turn up here two days later, but we had a united, combative and very solid performance.

“We are questioned a lot about our physicality and we had a good opportunity to show that we could do it – and we did it in a very convincing way.”

With the win, Arsenal are now level on points with Southampton who drew their game against Chelsea. They also overtook their opponents West Ham United and occupy the 5th spot, behind Southampton on goal difference. The Gunners will move ahead of Southampton if they manage to beat them on Thursday. Wenger said that Arsenal are looking forward to facing Southampton on the new years day, “It’s a good opportunity for us to do well in a big game. We can get some confidence from [West Ham], we drew 2-2 at Liverpool and they equalised in the final minute. I feel we have enough confidence to do well.”

After the defeat against Manchester United in November, Arsenal have recorded seven wins in all competitions and have drawn just one game which came against Liverpool. The record has gotten them back in touch with the top three. Southampton have been in good form themselves in the last three games after a mini-slump in November and early parts of December. The game promises to be a good one as both sides will attack each other from the onset due to their philosophies.