Jul 22, 2016
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Do Southampton need a new striker or is Sam Gallagher ready to step up?

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The departure of Graziano Pelle from Southampton wasn’t nearly as surprising as the choice of club.

Shandong Luneng was the choice of destination for the Italian striker but whether the Saints are in the market for a new striker remains unclear.

Currently able to play in the strikers’ role, manager Claude Puel has Charlie Austin, Shane Long, Jay Rodriguez and academy graduate Sam Gallagher.

However, both Austin and Rodriguez failed to have a genuine influence on the team last season as both suffered with numerous injury problems, whilst Gallagher’s chances under Koeman were virtually non-existent.

 

Pelle spearheaded the Saints attack for the previous two seasons extremely well and whilst Charlie Austin and Shane Long will be expected to be first choice, Gallagher could be eagerly waiting for an opportunity.

The 20-year-old is 6 ft 4in and could be the ideal replacement for Pelle with the help of some more first team action but an unsuccessful loan spell at MK Dons last season didn’t help the player’s cause.

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Austin announced himself on his debut to Saints fans last season by netting the only goal in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.

 

There is no doubt that Austin is a natural goal scorer and perhaps the most clinical finisher that Saints have but his persistent injury problems could hand Gallagher more chances.

Despite the introduction of a new manager and some player departures, the Saints squad is built to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Shane Long showed last season that he is the one that deserves to be leading the Saints line but his pace could force him out to either the left or right side of the supporting three, as was the case sometimes under Koeman.

 

As much as Saints fans would love to see Rodriguez back at full speed, his recovery time since he tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament in 2014 has been far longer than expected.

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It would certainly be a strange move by the board at Southampton if they were to splash big money on a striker because of the options already at Puel’s disposal but Gallagher, if called upon will be expected to show some kind of comfort in the Premier League.

With two seasons left on the youngster’s contract, there may come a time in this coming season, where he has to show why he’s still part of the squad.

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