As 2010 draws to a close, thoughts off the pitch start turning towards the opening of the January transfer window. For Southampton fans there is more interest than normal due to a number of factors.
January 2011 gives Nigel Adkins his first opportunity to bring players in on permanent contracts whilst the fact that the summer didn’t see too many new faces at St Mary’s suggests that the next few weeks might see some additions to the squad.
Added to that, former manager Alan Pardew’s new appointment and the speculation involving Adam Lallana and Alex Chamberlain will undoubtedly mean there will be rumours about players leaving as well as joining.
When you look at the Saints’ squad as it is currently, it would appear that it only needs a little tweaking rather than major surgery.
Kelvin Davis and Bartosz Bialkowski mean there is strength in the goalkeeping department and there are also enough options in defence. Frazer Richardson, Dan Harding, Danny Butterfield and Ryan Dickson fill both first and second choice spots in the full back positions. In Dan Seaborne and Aaron Martin there are also strong deputies for Jose Fonte and Radhi Jaidi.
In midfield, the central two positions will have Dean Hammond and Morgan Schneiderlin penciled in against them. Whilst Oscar Gobern has put in a strong claim for an understudy role here, that still leaves one permanent vacancy. The obvious solution to this would be for Richard Chaplow’s loan from Preston to be made permanent which could pave the way for Paul Wotton (currently on loan at Oxford) to depart permanently.
It’s when you get to the wide midfield and striking options that things become interesting. In Lallana and Chamberlain you have two of the hottest young talents around at present but is it the right time for them to be considering moving?
In Lallana’s case a move to a lower Premier League or Championship side could just see him playing in the same division as Southampton next season. When you look at Chamberlain, the similarities with Theo Walcott are obvious and two years playing Premier League reserve football will surely not do as much for his career as first team action lower down in the structure.
The deputies on the wings are Jason Puncheon who is currently away on loan to Millwall and Lee Holmes who is reportedly out for the season after recent ankle surgery. The only other option is Joseph Mills who has been loaned to Doncaster Rovers for the past couple of months.
In the striking department, Rickie Lambert and Lee Barnard would seem to be first choices with Guly Do Prado and David Connolly as back up. The question marks here are against Lambert who hasn’t reached the heights of last season yet and Connolly, whose injury problems remain a major concern.
So, assuming Lallana and Chamberlain stay, the players out on loan earn permanent moves away from the club and Chaplow joins on a permanent basis, there would appear to be two or three positions that need to be filled in January. The two definites are a player for each wing with the other being a further option up front.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.