Ronald Koeman has seemingly steadied a somewhat shaky ship at Southampton. Despite it being early days in his reign, the Dutch manager has given Saints fans a superb display of footballing talent so far this season.
The south coast club's early seasonal form may have come to a shock to many fans across the footballing world, with the departure of key players such as Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, who both joined Liverpool for a combined fee of £29.5 million, expecting to effect them.
Southampton's defensive players were quickly fleeting as well; Luke Shaw left to Manchester United for £27 million, and another impressive youngster by the name of Callum Chambers joined Arsenal for £16 million. The money rolled in, but the squad looked weak.
The youngsters left a significant hole in Southampton's squad, but a massive blow to the club was the departure of captain Dejan Lovren, who had a superb first season in the Premier League for the Saints. He joined Liverpool as well.
The club's summer transfer deals were hot on the tongues of every journalist in football. With Southampton constantly selling huge players, it was always a question of when, not if they would bring in adequate replacements.
After some terribly nervous times from a fans point of view, the club finally began to confirm numerous signings, which sparked a joyous reaction from the followers. In came Serbian international Dusan Tadic, a £10.9 million signing from FC Twente, something that seems a bargain considering his form this season.
Tadic and Pelle
Tadic, 25, has been involved in a goal in all eight of his Premier League matches so far, scoring one and assisting seven. It's not only his goals and assists that have lit-up the fans eyes this season, but also his effortless skill on the ball, passing with accuracy and drifting through tackles.
The second, and equally important signing is Graziano Pelle, an Italian striker from Feyernoord. A striker whom seemingly looked uninterested in his first game for Southampton against Liverpool, but since then has hit the ground running with six goals and one assist in eight games.
Pelle is a physical unit that has filled the void that Rickie Lambert left. Both players have a similar playing style, using their physicality to bully the opposition. It seems £8 million for this tenacious striker could well be another coup.
Both players, alongside key squad members, have helped Southampton start the season in superb fashion, winning five games out of eight, scoring 19 goals and having the best defensive record in the league with only five goals conceded.
Southampton will be looking to keep up their fine form this weekend, against a Stoke City side that's currently lingering in mid-table after a 2-1 victory over Swansea City. The Saints have no new injury worries to deal with, but still are awaiting the return of James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez, who are both likely to return to fitness in two months.
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