Following an extraordinary season in the top half of the Premier League, things haven’t gone according to plan for the Saints.
Following the loss of their Argentinian manager Mauricio Pochottino, Southampton have lost several first team players to their Premier League rivals.
Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren joined Liverpool while young England full-backs Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw joined Arsenal and Manchester United respectively.
The exodus does not seem to have stopped there with Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez both linked with moves to White Hart Lane to join their former manager.
Southampton’s transfer activities have led to an uproar amongst fans and critics, with many questioning the teams capability to survive relegation following the loss of several important players.
However, many people seem to forget that Southampton have one of the best youth academies in Europe that has produced some incredible players. These players are expected to fill in the gaps in Ronald Koeman’s team left by departing players.
Here is what Southampton F.C. could have looked like if they did not sell their star players in recent seasons.
GK: Artur Boruc
The 34-year-old is a seasoned professional and performed exceptionally well last season. Despite his advancing years he still has plenty to offer to the team and is a candidate for captaincy this season.
RB: Calum Chambers
The 19-year-old has only a handful number of Premier League games under his belt and had been a breakout star for Southampton last season, displacing Nathaniel Clyne for the right back slot.
Arsenal have recognised his talent and forked out an incredible £16 million to secure the services of Chambers.
CB: Dejan Lovren
The Croatian defender was one of the best defenders in the Premier League last season and his performances caught the eye of several top clubs around Europe including Barcelona and Chelsea. However it was Liverpool who secured his services for £20 million.
CB: José Fonte
Lovren’s partner at the back performed admirably last season and is the only member of the Saints' back line that has remained at St. Mary's.
LB: Luke Shaw
A member of England’s World Cup squad and the left back in PFA’s Team of the Year, Manchester United’s £27 million man is tipped to become one of the best full backs in the world in the near future.
CM: Morgan Schneiderlin
Another one of the rare players in this team who still remains at St. Mary's. Schneiderlin's excellent performances last season caught the attention of Arsenal and Tottenham and earned him a place in France’s World Cup squad.
CM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The Southampton academy graduate moved to Arsenal at a very young age and continues to develop his game. Don’t be surprised if he plays a very important role for Arsenal this season.
RM: Theo Walcott
Another Southampton academy graduate who moved to Arsenal at a very young age, Walcott was sorely missed by England last season.
At the age of 25, he has not quite reached the potential he promised at a very young age, however Walcott is still a fan favourite for the Gunners.
CAM: Adam Lallana
Southampton’s captain last season, Adam Lallana was a nominee for the PFA Player of the Year and was included in the PFA Team of the Year along with Shaw.
His performances earned him a move to Liverpool for a fee of £20 million. He will be sorely missed by Southampton this season as he is one of those players that are almost impossible to replace.
LM: Gareth Bale
The Wales international is currently the most expensive footballer of all time and one of the best players in the world. The two time PFA Player of the Year currently plays for Real Madrid and had an impressive debut season at the Bernabeu.
Bale left Southampton at the tender age of 18 to join Tottenham when he was still a left back. He is the best player to have graduated from Southampton’s youth academy.
ST: Rickie Lambert
Liverpool’s new signing Rickie Lambert is a legend of sorts at St. Mary's scoring an incredible 106 goals in 207 appearances for the club. He recently scored on his England debut and made the England World Cup squad. Young Jay Rodriguez will have a hard time replacing him.
This is one impressive team. Could they have been title contenders?
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