Football

Southampton.

 
Saints fans must wonder what’s happened over the past 8 years. From the depths of league 1 to the dizzy heights of 5th place and Europa League qualification. However the summer has seen the sequel to the story of two years ago. Leading male Sadio Mane became the next in a list of Saints players to join Liverpool and the effective supporting star Graziano Pelle has also departed for a new opportunity (a.k.a money) in China. The biggest blow though was gaffer Ronald Koeman jumping ship to Everton with the relatively unknown Claude Puel coming in as his replacement to direct the next episode. Puel comes with a CV that boasts managing some of the biggest clubs in France, but he hasn’t won a major honour since 2000. In addition he has no experience of English football and whether he can hit the ground running and achieve immediate success remains to be seen. Southampton will be looking for a minimum top half finish, if he doesn’t deliver, it could well be curtains.

Key man: Virgil van Dijk

Best signing: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Verdict: 11th

By Darren Wells

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