Could Southampton compete in Europe?

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Southampton currently sit third in the Premier League going into the international break, ahead of last year's champions Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham, and face current league-leaders Arsenal next week.

Along with their amazing position in the table, Saints also hold the best defensive record in the league, only conceding five goals in 11 games.

Mauricio Pochettino has seen outstanding performances from his team so far this season, and also possesses some extremely promising teenagers who already make the first-team, Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse being the pick of that bunch. 

Club captain Adam Lallana has also been outstanding this season, his wonder goal against Hull City in front of Roy Hodgson justified the England manager's choice to including him in this week's England friendlies against Chile and Germany.

As well as that, summer signing Dejan Lovren has also been an instant hit and has hit the ground running. If they were to continue this brilliant form, Southampton could be competing with Europe's elite teams next season, whether it be in the Champions League or Europa League.

But would they be able to compete? Well of course it would depend which European competition they would qualify for, the Champions League would offer them very limited chances, and they would be unlikely to get past the group stage.

If they were to take part in next year's Europa League competition, their opportunity to impress would open. Southampton have a very versatile selection of players who are all certainly capable of doing a job on the big stage, so would therefore be able to cope with the new styles of play and oppositions of the other leagues. 

As we know, Saints are very talented defending-wise, and of course are going forward as well with the form of England trio Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert. However €15.1 (£12.8) million summer signing Dani Osvaldo hasn't found his form yet for his new club and has only netted once so far this term.

If this was to change and was to hit the playing-levels he has reached for the last couple of years, I am sure his place in the team will be secured, however if not; they may need to replace him, as Rickie Lambert, despite playing some of the best football of his career so far at the moment, is now 31 years of age and will not be able to play at the same level for years to come.

So, Southampton might need to look to bring in a new striker next summer if they were to qualify for Europe. With their current team, the outstandingly promising youngsters they own and a Champions/Europa League status will certainly attract players. 

So will we see Southampton compete with the best next year?

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