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Can Koeman Re-ignite Southampton?

The Boot Room

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It has been a painful Summer for Southampton fans with some big names leaving the club for “bigger” Premier League clubs. The feeling at St Mary’s is a lot different than it was at the end of the last campaign where there were some stand out performances against the bigger sides which saw them finish 8th, impressive for a club that in many peoples eyes were the real surprise package of the 2013-14 campaign. The exit of Mauricio Pochettino to Premier League rivals Tottenham signaled what appears to have almost been an exodus at the club and has left new coach Ronald Koeman with a real job on his hands.

Players In

Ryan Bertrand- Chelsea– On Loan

Fraser Forster- Celtic- £10 million

Florin Gardos- Steaua Bucharest- £6 million

Shane Long- Hull City- £12 million

Graziano Pelle- Feyenoord- Undisclosed fee

Dusan Tadic- FC Twente- £10.9 Million

Sadhir Taider- Inter Milan- On Loan

Players Out

Calum Chambers – Arsenal – £16 Million

Adam Lallana – Liverpool – £25 Million

Rickie Lambert – Liverpool – £4 Million

Dejan Lovren – Liverpool – £20 Million

Dani Osvaldo – Inter Milan- On Loan

Luke Shaw – Manchester United – £27 Million.

As you can see from the comings and goings Koeman is going to have his work cut out to replicate Southampton’s fortunes from last season due to there being at least 5 notable departures from their first team. Koeman a former Dutch captain started his management career back in Holland with Vitesse Arnhem in 2000 where he only spent one season which was a successful one in which he guided Vitesse to a Uefa Cup Place for the following season. Koeman soon after was snapped up by Ajax where he spent four seasons which started off successfully enough winning a  League and Cup double in 2001-02, Koeman then followed that up with another League title in 2003-04. Unfortunately Ajax were in decline the following season, falling behind PSV in the League coupled with a poor showing in Europe Koeman was dismissed in February 2005.  Koeman then seemed to find it difficult to stay in one place for too long doing the odd season at Benfica, PSV, Valencia and AZ Alkmaar but he still won silverware. His previous club before Southampton was Feyenoord from 2011-2014 where he unfortunately came up empty handed this would be rightly put down to Feyenoord being unable to compete with the likes of AZ Alkmaar, Ajax and PSV and FC Twente.

So what now for Koeman and his new club Southampton?

The club have appointed well, they clearly want to continue their blueprint that has stood them in good stead. Koeman likes his sides to attack and play a very similar style to his predecessor Pochettino. You can expect a high work rate, defending from the front and also a keen approach to playing out from the back another comparison would be Roberto Martinez’s Everton. Koeman has made some shrewd signings, Fraser Forster from Celtic and Dusan Tadic from FC Twente are the stand out ones. Forster’s move to the Premier League has been along time coming and a much needed one for his career to progress in a big League. Tadic is every bit the player as former fan favourite Adam Lallana and showed just as much in Southampton’s season opener at Anfield where he crafted an exquisite assist for full back Nathaniel Clyne.  The biggest achievement so far from Koeman has been retaining the services of Morgan Schneiderlin, Schneiderlin looked to be on his way out this Summer with Arsenal and Tottenham chasing the holding midfield player. Koeman has made it clear he will not be sold and that he sees Schneiderlin as a key member of his squad for this campaign.

What Would Be A Successful Season?

Some pundits have said that they expect Southampton to find it difficult and see them in a relegation battle, I really can’t agree. Just look at the spirit and quality they showed at Anfield on opening day it was impressive, the one negative to take out of that game was being unable to convert their chances for much of the game they were the better side. There are still 10 days remaining in the transfer window and if Koeman can bring in a couple more players to bolster the squad I don’t see why a top 10 finish is out of the question. The one major factor will be how long the new players take to settle with many coming from the dutch league which is very different. It will take time for Koeman to get things ticking at St Mary’s but it is shortsighted to think it is all doom and gloom for the Saints.

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West Ham United

Signing Yaya Toure is not enough to gain support for West Ham board

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Photo: Getty Images.

West Ham United are believed to be close to appointing former Premier League winning coach Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager, and reports indicate that it could lead to a coup signing in his former player Yaya Toure.

The Telegraph make the claims as they say that previous talks between the Hammers and the free agent broke down, but the appointment of the Chilean would smooth matters and may make a deal more feasible.

In truth, the signing may not actually impress West Ham fans all that much. They have grown used to the signing of players who were dominating the game five years ago and are now past their best. The signings of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Patrice Evra over the past year have shown as much with mixed results.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The board are desperately seeking a way to get fans back onside as discontent grows and fans accuse them of not spending sufficiently to back their team and the signing of such a high profile player of immense quality may satisfy those wishes.

That may be the plan, but Yaya Toure made only two Premier League starts in 2017/18 and such a record bares terrifying resemblances to the likes of Andy Carroll, commanding a high wage whilst spending more time in the stands watching on than actually making an impact.

Toure could provide a spark and excitement, there’s no denying that he would be an invigorating addition, but he is not the long-term solution that the club require as fans cry out for players with potential and already at their best. His signing would be a mere distraction.

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Liverpool

Liverpool target Besiktas’ Anderson Talisca would add superb attacking depth

The Brazilian has recorded 28 goal contributions in Turkey this season.

Max Cohen

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Anderson Talisca
Photo: Getty Images

After Besiktas’ 5-1 home win over Sivasspor on Saturday, manager Senol Gunes strongly hinted that star attacker Anderson Talisca would be joining Liverpool this summer.

The possible signing of the Brazilian midfielder would be a superb acquisition for Liverpool, adding depth and quality to the club’s star-studded attack.

According to FourFourTwo, the Besiktas manager confirmed Talisca would be leaving the Turkish club for the Premier League after two years on loan from Benfica.

And Gunes dropped a massive hint that put Liverpool as the possible frontrunners in attaining his signature ahead of Manchester United.

“He might be rivals with Cenk Tosun,” Gunes replied when asked about Talisca’s English destination.

Of course, former Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun plays for Everton– leading many to jump to the conclusion that Talisca is headed to Anfield instead of Old Trafford.

(Photo by Ozan Kose/Getty Images)

The signing would represent a strong statement of intent from the Reds, as Talisca has enjoyed a stunning two seasons at Besiktas and is a burgeoning attacking talent.

In 47 appearances this season, the 24-year-old was involved in an impressive 28 goals, scoring 20 and assisting eight.

And the Brazilian’s past form shows this fantastic season is not a one-off. In 2016/17, Talisca bagged 17 goals and six assists, despite only featuring 33 times in all competitions.

While some might argue that the Turkish Super Lig has a poorer defensive standard than the Premier League, Talisca has proven his worth in European competition as well. In his time at Besiktas, he has notched five Champions League goals, as well as two goals and four assists in the Europa League.

The Brazilian youth international would add impressive offensive depth for Liverpool, as the Reds look to seriously challenge for the Premier League next season.

The purchase of the prolific attacking midfielder would be an ideal first step in assembling a squad that could bring Anfield its first league trophy in over two decades.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham have already identified Eric Dier’s £25 million replacement in Wilmar Barrios

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Photo: Getty Images.

Losing first team regulars may not be a complete surprise to Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino, and that may why be reports are indicating that the coach has already lined up an alternative to Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama should either move on this summer.

The Sun say that there is still interest in Dier, who will be at the World Cup with England, whilst Wanyama’s struggles with injury may mean that Pochettino looks elsewhere for the role of midfield enforcer.

They believe the target to be Boca Juniors’ 24-year-old holding midfielder Wilmar Barrios, a Colombian international who plays alongside Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez at international level.

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The youngster has become a key man in the Boca Juniors side but, perhaps unusually, has not caught the attention of many in Europe. Barrios has, though, developed a reputation as one of the best players in South America, particularly in his position, as he has become a linchpin protecting his back four.

That is protected in his very impressive stats, which show that he makes on average three tackles per game and 2.8 interceptions per match, compared to the 1.8 tackles and 1.3 interceptions for Dier playing in a very similar role.

Barrios’ intelligent reading of the game has drawn comparisons to Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, with both men guilt of diving into tackles on occasion despite all of their many strengths.

He may be raw, with no experience of playing in Europe, but at £25 million he could prove to be a bargain and Mauricio Pochettino’s return home to go on a shopping spree could provide a long-term solution to the holding midfield role which seems as uncertain as ever after the 2017/18 season.

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