Southampton fans must keep calm and remember who they are

Originally posted on Metro:

England’s Adam Lallana is just one of many Southampton players to be sold this summer (Picture: Getty Images)

I was not expecting Southampton fans to be over the moon about the current transfer business in this summer window, but I wasn’t quite prepared for some of the over the top reactions from some.

It’s like they’ve forgotten who they are. Saints have always lost their top players to those bigger and supposedly better clubs, it’s the way it has always been. Talk of a fire-sale is crazy.

When Saints first team players are leaving for the likes of Stoke City and Aston Villa, then it will be time to worry about the intentions of the board. In reality are best players are being touted by clubs in a position to pay them more money and offer them Champion’s League football. It seems like a disaster because ‘so many’ are leaving…

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Ronald Koeman hits the ground running as Southampton eye Danny Ings and Steven Caulker

Originally posted on Metro:

Steven Caulker (R) has been linked with a move to Southampton (Picture: Getty Images)

Southampton’s new look team have had a fruitful trip to Belgium over the last week or so, seeing off Dutch side EHC Hoensbroek and Belgian side Sporting Hasselt 4-0 and 6-0 respectively.

New boy Graziano Pelle hit the ground running with two goals in his first 45 minutes of Saints football against Hasselt, while fellow newcomer Dusan Tadic and young winger Sam McQueen also stood out.

This was a flying start to life under Ronald Koeman, and although the opposition aren’t exactly world beaters, goals breed confidence and winning is fuelled by winning. This is shaping up to be one of the most interesting pre-seasons in Saints’ history, with more players certain to come in.

The latest names to appear to be getting closer to St Mary’s are that of Burnley forward (and Southampton fan) Danny Ings and Cardiff…

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Does Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers’ obsession with Southampton point to his own failings?

Originally posted on Metro:

Brendan Rodgers is clearly a fan of Southampton (Picture: Getty Images)

Not content with already having taken Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana from Southampton and unsettling Dejan Lovren to the point of mutiny, Brendan Rodgers has seemingly now turned his attention to Jay Rodriguez.

What is going on here Brendan? I know we played the prettiest football in the league last season, I know we shocked plenty of people with our achievements but really? You want all of our players?

There was a delicious irony in Lovren claiming that he wanted to move to Anfield because Saints were no longer showing ambition.

Within days of that statement Liverpool had sold their best player and been snubbed in favour of Arsenal by Alexis Sanchez. I think that would suggest questionable ambition too.

With a hideous amount of money to spend why is Rodgers so obsessed with Southampton players? Did he get a…

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Domino two is down! Graziano Pellè: The Lowdown

Someone said that once Tadic was signed it would be like dominoes in terms of incoming transfers. Well the first has fallen as Feyenoord forward Graziano Pellè has completed his move to the club.

It has hardly been a secret the Italian was on the verge of rejoining the coach who has overseen the two most successful seasons of his career in Holland, but what exactly is it that the club is investing in?

I caught up with what I think we can now consider ‘georgeweahcousin.com‘s Dutch correspondent’  Will Burns from totaldutchfootball.com and Feyenoord fan  Jacco van Keulen from wijzijnfeijenoord.nl (answers to follow) to see what they think Pellè can bring to St. Mary’s.

It’s taken a bit of time, but finally Pellè is a Saint. Is this the man to replace the talisman of the last five years (Rickie Lambert)?

WB ‘Pellè is a player I have admired for the past two seasons and I feel he is a perfect fit for the Premier League. At 6ft 4 inches, even though he is tall and physically strong, he is a delight to watch on the ball.’

There has been some talk of his hot temper. Given our experiences with Osvaldo, can this be tamed?

WB ‘I am unsure of Osvaldo as he is a player I have not followed but Pelle can be a hot head indeed. He has a great winning mentality and he can be explosive when things to do not go his way and has been known to sulk if his side are losing an important games.’

Welcome Graziano!

Welcome Graziano!

What are Pellè’s main strengths and weaknesses?

WB ‘He has a lot of strengths – excellent finishing, fantastic in the air, immense strength holding the ball up, great awareness. For weaknesses, the sulking and his temperament can be his only real downfalls.’

Forwards like Suarez and Bony have moved to the PL from Holland and been fantastic, van Wolfswinkel and Altidore not so much. Can Pellè make the transition?

WB ‘In my opinion, yes. A lot of strikers struggle with the pace and power of the Premier League – well the pace is faster in the Eredivisie and this guy is a massive 6ft 4 and immensely strong. Can he handle it, yes, if someone can get the ball crossed to him, he is beating that defender and the ball is ending up in the back of the net.’

Finally, both Tadic and Pellè have spoken of the ambition at Saints much like Koeman has. Are these players to take us up another level?

WB ‘Unsure about another level, as this is only two players in an eleven man team, and two players in a 20 man squad but they can certainly help out. If Southampton keep the ball on the ground, play football and do not resort to the long ball which many teams do here in England, Tadic will be a success. After watching Rickie Lambert, I know Pelle is a much classier striker and could surpass any successes the Scouser had for Southampton. The thought of Tadic and Pelle linking up is an exciting prospect, especially under Ronald Koeman. I will certainly focus on watching Southampton next year… when I find the time to watch the Premier League that is.’

So there we have it! Thanks to Jacco and Will for helping with this, make sure you check out wijzijnfeijenoord.nl and totaldutchfootball.com! Can’t wait for the next domino to fall…

Chris

Life Saint Easy: A Journey through Football Joy & Despair

A couple of years ago, I started making ‘notes’ on my life as a football supporter, in particularly my time following Saints. It was soon formed into chapters that could make a book, though I was never sure that anyone but me would be interested to read it.

I tentatively sent it to a couple of publishers and actually got some interest, though as writing is not my job I couldn’t commit to any time-scales or deadlines that would need to be met.

I toyed with the idea of self publishing, but again the nagging doubt crept in that actually, this is only a story that is relevant to me, my friends and family and perhaps those of a similar age who support Saints. It also dawned on me that I write this blog because I love talking about Saints. They are my passion and in no way do I feel any need to try and profit from that, I’ve had countless offers from bigger websites and organisations to take this site under their wing and make it into a money making venture, but it has never felt right and therefore I have kept it as it is, losing me money on a yearly basis (It’s a good year since I was sued by a photographer though, so fingers crossed!).

I have decided to take the same approach with this ‘book’ and publish the first chapter on here. If it get’s any interest then I will publish the rest as and when I see fit.

If you are a mid-thirties Saints fan who grew up in the eighties surrounded by people who support teams they have no emotional connection to, can appreciate the despair of watching text updates of a League One game at 4 AM in a Chinese hotel room or trying to get a signal to watch Manchester United v Aston Villa during an Iraqi insurgent rocket strike you might get something out of it….

Life Saint Easy: A Journey through Football Joy & Despair

Chris

Southampton close in on Graziano Pelle as Ronald Koeman’s rebuilding mission begins

Originally posted on Metro:

Feyenoord’s Italian forward Graziano Pelle is set to join Southampton (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronald Koeman gave his first press conference as Southampton boss yesterday and cut an impressive figure.

He spoke of no more planned sales, of there still being ambition at St. Mary’s and how the club had been sold to him on it’s future. He stated quite categorically that he would not have come had their been uncertainty.

In what was a new air of transparency as far as Saints was concerned he also confirmed that a deal was close for Italian striker Graziano Pelle from his old club Feyenoord.

Impressive. Adam Lallana is replaced, and now too will be Rickie Lambert. Just what the fans wanted to hear.

In Pelle Saints look to be getting a striker who is the very definition of prolific having scored 55 goals in 65 games under Koeman in Holland. That is…

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GUEST POST: What would Fraser Forster bring to Southampton?

‘With lot’s of incoming transfer speculation surrounding Saints at the moment (and not a moment too soon) I thought it might be interesting to see what the rumoured new boy could bring to our squad. Thanks to Matthew Harris from Betfair for this guest contribution.’ – Chris

What would Fraser Forster bring to Southampton?

Reports emerging in the last few days suggest that Saints are ready to battle with Benfica for the signature of England goalkeeper Fraser Forster. The 26 year old has been with Celtic since 2010, signing permanently in 2012 after an initial loan period and he came to prominence last season after setting an SPL record for the longest period without conceding a goal.

Any full England international would be a welcome addition to the Southampton squad but does Ronald Koeman stand a chance of landing the player and what would he bring to St Mary’s?

A stable option?

Southampton are priced at 11/1 with Betfair for a top six finish at the end of 2014-15 but if we are to crash the European places, a consistent and injury free custodian is one of Koeman’s main priorities. Artur Boruc may be a controversial figure as far as other clubs are concerned but he quickly becomes a fans’ favourite with his respective employers. The main issue with the Pole is his appearances and a number 1 would preferably play more than 50 league games out of a possible 76 over two seasons.

Contrast that record with the clubs who finished just ahead of Southampton last season. Spurs, Everton and Manchester United all have reliable stoppers in Hugo Lloris, Tim Howard and David de Gea and their near ever-presence is a positive factor for each side.

No-one can guard against a freak injury but the first thing that Fraser Forster should bring to Southampton is a consistent option behind the back four.

Is Fraser Forster heading to St. Mary's?

Is Fraser Forster heading to St. Mary’s?

Quality

Forster’s record breaking exploits last season provide some remarkable statistics. The 26 year old claimed no less than 13 consecutive clean sheets and an incredible 1256 minutes without conceding before Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes finally found a way past him.

Naturally, any detractors will be quick to point out that the Scottish Premier League doesn’t contain quite the same threat that the English version will pose, should Forster make the switch. That may be a valid point but 13 clean sheets is an amazing achievement, no matter where the games are played.

So Fraser Forster would bring consistency and an improvement in technical ability to St Mary’s but what are Koeman’s chances of landing him?

The Contenders

Benfica are thought to have been monitoring Forster for at least a year now and have previously been warned by Celtic against tapping up their player. This summer, the Portuguese giants are expected to make it official with a £6m bid and there are obvious temptations in playing with such a prestigious club in a pleasant climate.

Southampton have at least two advantages here: Firstly, having made in excess of £60m in player sales already, the transfer fee should not be an issue. In fact, if it gets down to a bidding war, Koeman would, in theory, have money to work with.

The second factor may be the most crucial one however as Forster looks to build on his two England caps and potentially replace Joe Hart as Roy Hodgson’s first choice. In Portugal he would, in all probability, escape the manager’s radar but at St Mary’s he would be in front of Hodgson and his managerial team on a weekly basis.

Ironically, Artur Boruc praised Forster when he was named in England’s 2014 World Cup squad.

“I still watch Celtic games on TV so I saw him in the Champions League and I can see he is a good keeper. I’m not surprised he has been selected,” he said.

In a short space of time they could be joining up at St Mary’s and surely that would be good news for all Saints Fans?

Matthew Harris

Dusan Tadic is just the start as Southampton start to splash the cash

Originally posted on Metro:

Dusan Tadic will replace Adam Lallana at Southampton (Picture: Getty Images)

What do you do if you lose your playmaker for £25 million? Replace him for a potentially better one for over half the price.

Ok, that is facetious and a little bitter but Southampton’s first dip into the transfer market looks to be a hugely impressive one. Much sought after Serbian international Dusan Tadic has become the first new face in the Ronald Koeman era at St Mary’s and comes with glowing references.

With talk of offers from Everton, Sevilla and Shalke 04 on the table, Saints have done well to land the man many are describing as ‘the best in the Eredivisie’. Amongst all the gloom, doom and conspiracy theories surrounding the club it would suggest further proof that Katherina Liebherr isn’t implementing a secret scheme to regain the money her father invested (exactly five years yesterday, thank…

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The Ball is finally rolling! Dušan Tadić: The Lowdown!

In what has been a turbulent few weeks, especially since England limped out of the World Cup without so much as a fight, some incoming transfer news at St. Mary’s has been a long time coming…

…but it’s finally here and Serbian international Dušan Tadić becomes the first new face of the Ronald Koeman era.

Joining from FC Twente for a fee believed to be  in the region of €13 million. Saints have seemingly shaken off competition from Everton, Sevilla and Shalke 04 to secure a player that some have labelled ‘the best in the Eredivisie.’

As is usual here at georgeweahscousin.com we like to get an experts take on new players and staff so we caught up with Will Burns from TotalDutchFootball.com and FC Twente fan Erwin de Groot of FCTwenteLatest.

It’s dragged for a few days, but Dušan Tadić is now a Southampton player. Is this a good move for Saints?

WB ’100% yes! In my opinion Tadić was the best player in the Eredivisie last year and Ronald Koeman obviously thinks the same to part with such a hefty fee.’ 

EdG ‘I would say it is, yes. He’s been the best player in the Eredivisie for the last two years. Tadić is a model professional, rarely missing a game and a role model for the youngsters with his positive attitude.’

Many have touted him as a potential Adam Lallana replacement. What type of player is he?

WB ‘A very handy left winger but also at home in the number 10 role. He’s intelligent, hard working, an assist machine and a goal scorer. Potential Lallana replacement? Maybe… he has all the credentials to pull it off.’

EdG ‘He’s been the creative spark for Twente in the past two seasons. Always an eye for his teammates. Gifted with the insight to play killer balls and key passes. His assist tally is impressive, but it could’ve been much, much higher. The FC Twente strikers tend to miss a lot of chances.’

What would you say are his main strengths and weaknesses?

WB ‘As I am such an admirer of Tadić, no real weaknesses spring to mind. He is a great crosser with exceptional passing. Throughout his career in the Eredivisie, his deliveries from corners and free-kicks have resulted in goals after goals. Combine this with the capability to cut inside and carve up any defence with a killer ball, provides you the main reasons for his many assists. Great movement, great speed and a great penalty taker.’

EdG ‘Main strengths: Key pass, through balls, very strong left foot. 100% conversion rate of penalties, free kicks, crosses, work rate, influence, attitude and one of his biggest strengths: Opponents can’t get him off the ball when he’s in possession.
Weaknesses: The Twente coaching staff told him he has to go for his own chance a bit more, rather than laying the ball off. Defensively he’s not very strong.’

Dusan Tadic get's the thumbs up!

Dusan Tadic get’s the thumbs up!

Do you think he will be able to convert his Eredivisie form to the Premier League?

WB ‘Like I say about every player coming over here from a different league – it may take time. However, he has the speed and strength to harass any full-back so he may adapt quickly to the hustle and bustle of going to the Brittania on a rainy Monday night.’

EdG ‘He’ll be ok. As long as you keep playing your attacking football, that’s where he’s best. I’ve no doubt he will fit in. It’s a big step, but if one player can do it, it’s Tadic.’

This is hopefully the first of many players coming into Saints, perhaps mainly from Holland, how is that perceived over there?

WB ‘Unsure how it’s perceived but imagine Southampton will be a club they will follow with a Dutch legend like Ronald Koeman at the helm.’

EdG ‘Good question. I don’t think it matters too much to fans in the Netherlands. It’s our faith to lose players to the bigger leagues like the Premier League, so we’re kind of used to it. We’ll always have bright new talents in the Netherlands.’ 

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like we have signed a pretty exciting player to me! Thanks to Will and Erwin for their time. Make sure you checkout TotalDutchFootball.com for future features on Koeman and his targets!

I get the feeling this is the first signing of many…..

Chris

Just what is going on at Southampton?

Originally posted on Metro:

Southampton’s Dejan Lovren, right, wants out of St Mary’s (Picture: Getty Images)

I write this blog post with some trepidation. This is purely my opinion on what is happening behind the scenes at St. Mary’s, amid many opinions that can be found and vary from the conceivable to the conspiracy theory to the ridiculous.

Many people are asking the same questions.

Why are all of our best players desperate to get out of the club? Many fans believe that something must be seriously wrong behind the scenes for them all to suddenly want to go. Well, let’s examine the ones that have gone so far and the ones that might be about to happen.

Rickie Lambert – Liverpool. Champions League football, significant payrise, final chance to represent his boyhood club.

Luke Shaw – Manchester United. Biggest club in the country, significant payrise, regular trophy winners.

Adam Lallana – Liverpool. Champions…

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