Southampton transfer news: Ralph Hasenhuttl facing 'constant' challenge at St. Mary's

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl looks frustrated on the touchline

Journalist Tom Barclay has claimed Southampton are a club constantly in transition. 

What has Tom Barclay said about Southampton?

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, Barclay stated that Saints are in a cycle of having to sell their best players and then rebuild the squad accordingly. 

He told GMS: "A lot of the players Hasehuttl's brought in are very young. For a club like Southampton they're just constantly in transition, aren't they?

"Because if anyone gets that good in the squad they're probably going to leave, James Ward-Prowse being the obvious exception, and then it's about rebuilding it." 

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Does Barclay have a point?

Very much so. In the summer transfer window, Southampton parted with last season's top scorer Danny Ings as well as centre-back Yannik Vestergaard, with the duo joining Aston Villa and Leicester City respectively. 

Saints have replaced them with former Blackburn striker Adam Armstrong, who is unproven in the Premier League, and Torino centre-half Lyanco - although he's still yet to feature for Ralph Hasenhuttl's side in the top flight. 

Nonetheless, this is nothing new at St. Mary's. Over the years they've parted with some elite talents, not least including Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Morgan Schneiderlin, Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren - all of whom joined Big Six clubs. 

More often than not, they went on to be replaced by lesser-known names. 

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Has the model worked for Southampton?

Previously, Southampton were perhaps the Premier League's most effective operators in the transfer market.

During summer 2014, for example, they sold Shaw, Lallana and Lovren - as well as Calum Chambers and Rickie Lambert - but brought in Mane, Ryan Bertrand and Dusan Tadic, and finished the season one position higher (seventh) than the campaign previous. 

Likewise, in summer 2015, they sold Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne but signed Virgil van Dijk and ended the term in sixth place. 

In recent years, however, Southampton have struggled to replace their departing big names - such as van Dijk - to the same effect. 

That's evident enough from their league positions. After 2015/16's Europa League qualification, Southampton have only drifted downwards. 

They've finished in the bottom half during all of the last four campaigns and in the bottom six for three of them. 

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How can Southampton stop the cycle?

Ultimately, Southampton need more examples like James Ward-Prowse. Despite strong interest from Aston Villa this summer, he ended up signing a new contract at St. Mary's.

The challenge for Saints is to find a way of convincing more of their most important players to do the same in the future, rather than making moves to clubs higher up the table. 

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