The Saints have been very successful in their short stint in the Premier League after finishing 8th in just their second campaign of the competition. However after losing Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren to rival clubs in the recent transfer window, many people believed that they would drop off this season.
The departed players were arguably four of the most important from last season - Jay Rodriguez aside - with Lambert scoring 13 goals and assisting 10, Lallana scoring nine and assisting six, Shaw being touted as one of the most promising left backs in the world and Lovren looking very solid in the centre of defense.
With Jose Fonte's tally of three goals being the second highest from last season excluding Lallana and Lambert, it was no wonder people questioned wether the Saints could continue their brilliant rise up the table.
Proving people wrong
However, they are already proving their doubters wrong by winning four games, drawing one and losing just two to put them in 3rd place on the table. A lot of this success can be attributed to three crucial signings.
The first one is Graziano Pelle, who was signed from Feyenoord for a reported £9 million. The Italian striker has already scored four goals in seven appearances, making him the joint level-5th highest scorer in the league.
Another important signing that Southampton made was securing Ryan Bertrand on loan from Chelsea. The 25-year-old has settled in nicely scoring one goal and creating one assist in just seven appearances from left-back. The third major purchase was that of Dusan Tadic, who arrived from FC Twente for a reported fee of approximately £10million.
The Serbian attacking-midfielder has showed lots of creativity and flair on the ball on his way to one goal and three assists in his first seven appearances. Southampton were very smart with their transfers because they signed direct replacements for the players who left.
As well as this all of their purchases were relatively cheap and so far some of the new recruits have arguably been able to out-perform the ex-Southampton players. For example, Shaw has only made two appearances for United after being injured earlier in the season, Lallana has only made four appearances, contributing one goal and no assists for Liverpool, and Lambert has made six appearances and scored none.
Lovren appears to have been the only one to have had a smooth transition to his new club, appearing in every game this year. Southampton also sold their players for a reported total of about £88,000,000, and spent just £56,700,000.
The other main reason that Southampton has started this season so well has been because of the improvement of many individuals and therefore the team. Young to middle-aged players such as Morgan Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne, Victor Wanyama, Jose Fonte, Jack Cork and James Ward-Prowse have all showed strong signs of improvement.
Schneiderlin and Wanyama have been doing a good job in protecting the defence and have also made an impact on the scoresheet as well as Cork and Ward-Prowse when they have played.
Clyne has looked very creative at right back going forward and looks to have really improved in that area as well as tracking back. Finally, Fonte has been looking very solid in the centre of defence and has been a key factor in Southampton's very solid defensive record.
The challenge now for Ronald Koeman's men will be to keep it for the rest of the season and maybe push for a top four spot.
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