Southampton Football Club
Nickname – The Saints
Best PL Finish – 6th (2015/16)
The six and a half seasons since returning to the Premier League have seen Southampton rise to almost unprecedented heights before dramatically falling to the depths of relegation struggle. Both these highs and more recent lows have revolved around the quality and cohesion amongst the playing squad.
As they began to rise from League 1 The Saints, thanks to the likes of Bale, Lallana and Walcott, became the shining example of how to discover and develop youth talent. The admiration for the academy perhaps overshadowed the fantastic transfer business of the South Coast club. Southampton’s scouts seemed to have the Midas touch as they rose to the realms of European qualification.
As was perhaps inevitable, both the academy production and transfer success has fallen dramatically. It will be interesting to see how Ralph Hassenhuttl uses his first transfer window. He and his team find themselves in the midst of a second successive relegation battle. January is shaping up to be a crucial month.
Top 5 Record Transfer Fees (as of 04/02/19):
- Guido Carillo – £19 million (from Monaco– January 2018)
- Jannik Vestergaard – £18 million (from Bor M’gladbach – August 2018)*
- Sofiane Boufal – £16 million (from Lille – August 2016)
- Mohamed Elyounoussi – £16 million (from Basel – July 2018)
- Dani Osvaldo – £15 million (from Roma – October 2013)
(Danny Ings currently on loan from Liverpool – permanent fee likely to top £20m)
*Fee officially undisclosed, but believed to be £18 million. (Sky Sports)
(Figures include initial fees in GBP at the time of the transfer, as reported by the BBC unless specified otherwise)
Biggest Flop – Guido Carillo
Southampton signed Guido Carillo from Monaco less than a year ago. He cost £19.8m. Saints fans, let alone neutrals, could be forgiven for forgetting he ever graced our shores.
Mauricio Pellegrino gambled on the Argentinian target man to save the Saints from relegation at the back end of last season. He was almost instantly sacked and replaced by Mark Hughes. Southampton did avoid relegation so, in theory, the plan was successful. It could, though, be argued that Carillo’s seven appearances and zero goals were not an especially significant factor in their narrow escape.
Carillo is currently plying his trade on loan at Leganes. He has managed five goals in La Liga, technically making him the second highest scoring Southampton player this season. There is no suggestion Carillo will wear the red and white stripes again when his current loan expires. Expect a low key transfer abroad as the Saints quietly cut their losses.
Honourable mentions must go to;
Dani Osvaldo (scored one wonder goal & fought with his teammates)
Sofiane Boufal (scored one wonder goal & fought with his manager)
Gaston Ramirez (scored one wonder goal, disappeared & surfaced in Middlesbrough)
Southampton have had their fair share of recent stinkers. Supporters would likely argue a few of the main examples are still playing at centre back for the club. It’s safe to say the jury is still out for Wesley Hoedt and Jannik Vestergaard. As it stands though, Carillo and his £2.7m per appearance ratio tops the list.
Biggest Bargain – Rickie Lambert
In August 2009, League One side Southampton forked out £1m to secure the signing of lower league goal machine Rickie Lambert from Bristol Rovers.
In August 2013, supporters of Premier League side Southampton watched with pride as Rickie Lambert crowned his England debut with the winning goal against Scotland at Wembley.
Lambert became a cult hero for the Saints as his goals propelled them from the depths of League One in to the top half of the Premier League. The Liverpool born striker scored 117 goals at a rate of better than a goal every other game across five seasons at St Mary’s. Lambert’s hauls of 15 and 14 in his two Premier League seasons with the Saints ensured the club were able to re-establish themselves at the top level.
Having cemented their status amongst the big boys, Southampton began to speculate to accumulate. The £15m spent on Virgil Van Dijk proved to be a steal. Sadio Mane’s initial fee raised some eyebrows but turned out to be a sound piece of business. In terms of value for money though, it is difficult to top the legacy that Rickie Lambert left for an outlay of just £1m.
Records & Trivia
- Rory Delap became Southampton’s record signing (£4m) in July 2001. He remained the club’s record signing for 11 years.
- Dani Osvaldo cost the Saints £15m in 2013. He retired from football in 2016 to pursue a music career.
- After signing Angus Gunn for £13.5m, Southampton currently have three goalkeepers who have been part of the full England squad.
- Since 2014, Southampton have received over £170m in transfer fees from Liverpool alone
- The £75m received for Virgil Van Dijk remains a World Record fee for a defender.
- Southampton were forced to cash in their 25% sell on clause in Gareth Bale for approximately £2m when on the brink of bankruptcy. The clause would have been worth over £20m a few years later
- Tottenham did add goalkeeper Tommy Forecast as a sweetener in the above deal. He played a total of 0 minutes for the Saints. Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has won the Champions League four times.
- At time of writing, Southampton’s top five record signings (listed above), have combined to score a total of six goals for the club. Four of those five players are attackers.