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Grading Southampton’s summer transfer window

Jake Jackman

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Southampton

Southampton had a quiet deadline day, but they will come out of the summer feeling relatively pleased with their business. They brought in four players and saw a number of squad players depart, as Mauricio Pellegrino starts to mould his squad. Despite Virgil van Dijk and Ryan Bertrand being linked with a move away, they managed to keep both at the club, which was a huge coup for them and showed their ambition to succeed this season.

Arrivals

The first signing was Jan Bednarek is definitely one for the future, as he is a highly-rated centre-back. At the time, many suggested he was a replacement for Van Dijk, but that isn’t the case. He will be allowed to develop away from the first-team. Mario Lemina was the biggest signing made, as he arrived from Juventus for £15 million. He will be a great addition and has the potential to be sold on for a big profit.

Wesley Hoedt has arrived from Lazio and will provide real competition for places in the defence. If Van Dijk had left, he would have been seen as a starter, but he may have to settle for a place on the bench.

Departures

The biggest departure was Jay Rodriguez, who joined West Brom for £12 million. Supporters were sad to see him go, but it was probably the right decision as his career had stalled on the South Coast. A handful of other first-team players left in Martin Caceres, Cuco Martina, Jordy Clasie and Paulo Gazzaniga.

What they missed out on?

Supporters would have hoped for one or two more additions. There are doubts about Fraser Forster as he has been less impressive during the last 12 months, but the club do come out of the transfer window as a stronger team. The best piece of business was keeping Van Dijk and Bertrand. Their defence was good last season and it would have been significantly weakened if they both departed. Unlike previous summers, the club stood strong when bigger clubs came calling and they deserve credit for that.

Grade – B

They have had a good window and they will be seen as one of the best of the rest again. The addition of Lemina should make them more dynamic in the centre of the park, but the best business was keeping Van Dijk. He was linked with a move away all summer, but the club have kept him until January at the earliest. The Dutchman is one of the best defenders in the league and will be a huge presence at Southampton this season. If they had made one more big-name addition, it would have made it a near-perfect window, but they will be happy with the result as it stands.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Croatia

Everton’s reported move for Croatia defender Domagoj Vida would seriously improve defence

The Croatia international would bolster Marco Silva’s options significantly.

Jamie Watts

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The world’s eyes were on Croatia last night, as Zlatko Dalic’s side dismantled Argentina 3-0. And a number of high-profile targets for Premier League clubs were in action. However, it appears Everton have identified a potential target that isn’t one of the household names, in Domagoj Vida, according to reports from Turkish outlet SABAH.

The defender currently plies his trade for Turkish giants Besiktas, having joined from Dynamo Kiev on a free transfer in January. But the 30-year-old has struggled to nail down a regular starting place at Vodafone Park. And Marco Silva could now swoop for his services, as he looks to bolster his defensive options ahead of his first season in-charge at Goodison Park.

The defender’s performance last night suggests he could be a serious coup for Silva if a deal can be completed. Vida partnered Liverpool regular Dejan Lovren at centre-back and managed to keep a star-studded Argentina attack; including the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala quiet for the duration of the game.

Photo: Getty Images

His aggression and determination was evident for all to see, as a string of last-ditch blocks and slide tackles rounded off a brilliant display for Croatia, as they secured a clean-sheet. And the dogged attitude the player showed last night, is what was largely missing from Everton’s rear-guard last term.

Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are coming to the latter stages of their careers with the Blues, and with the departure of Ramiro Funes Mori yesterday (BBC Sport), a deal for Vida would make perfect sense on Merseyside this summer.

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Croatia

Liverpool fans want Ivan Rakitic following brilliant performance against Argentina

Liverpool fans want yet another top midfielder at the club this summer.

Jamie Watts

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Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic was nothing short of sensational last night in Croatia’s 3-0 dismantling of Argentina, and Liverpool fans have taken to social media to commend the midfielder, with many asserting that Jurgen Klopp should sign him this summer.

Luka Modric was in his usual scintillating form in the centre of the park, but Rakitic was equally as good, and the two essentially ran the game for the whole duration, as Argentina scratched their heads for a way to get into the game.

Photo: Getty Images

The 30-year-old rounded off a truly dominant display by slotting home into an empty net from close range, after Mateo Kovacic unselfishly played him in, but it was nothing less than Rakatic’s performance deserved on the night.

Reds fans, having already secured the high-profile signings of Naby Keita and Fabinho, took to Twitter to suggest that the club should complete a hat-trick of midfield acquisitions this summer and bring the £60 million rated man to Anfield.

Here’s the reaction:

It has to be said that the logistics of completing a deal for the Barcelona man, who was ever-present in the side last season, make any serious movement unlikely on Liverpool’s front. But many are starting to regret the club’s decision to turn their nose up at the prospect of signing him, in a make-weight deal for Philippe Coutinho last summer.

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Croatia

Tottenham’s interest in Croatia trio justified after sensational team performance against Argentina

Tottenham fans will have heard a few familiar names last night.

Jamie Watts

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Croatia heaped further misery on Argentina’s already shaky World Cup opening last night, dismantling them 3-0, and taking the top spot of Group D in the process. And Tottenham fans will have been particularly interested in the clash.

Not only was former fan-favourite Luka Modric in his usual scintillating form, but a trio of closely linked players were deployed on the night, and all three put in exceptional performances.

Ivan Perisic put in a typically tireless display last night, alternating between all three-front roles at times, while showing maturity in his decision making and genuine quality in his end product after marauding runs down both flanks. And Pochettino will have taken notice, as his side were reportedly interested in bringing the 29-year-old to north London last month, according to Calcio Mercato.

Photo: Getty Images

On top of that, the Spurs-linked midfield duo also performed brilliantly when called upon. Marcelo Brozovic (Calcio Mercato) – also of Inter Milan – showed his ability to steady the ship in defensive midfield, in what was a frantic game at times, sparking counter attacks with his vision and cultured weight of pass, whilst keeping the shackles on Lionel Messi.

And Mateo Kovacic (AS), rounded off a dogged team performance with a few moments brilliance. Upon arriving into the game in the closing stages, he used his exceptional dribbling and balance to trouble a weary Argentina back-line, before showing an extremely cool head to pick out Rakitic under-pressure in the box for his outfit’s third goal.

Photo: Getty Images

All three put in performances worthy of top level clubs, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pochettino elevate his interest in all three after last night.

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