Claude Puel’s influence is taking affect at Southampton. The Saints finished their preseason unbeaten, and the manager emphasised how productive the tours have been. “All the players have improved on their play” said Puel. “We can see a good attitude, a good spirit and good acquaintances between the players. This is interesting for the future.”
Fans will be hoping that spirit will keep their key players at the club after Jose Fonte said a move to a team in the Champions League would be “tempting.”
Sports Witness report that Fonte, talking to Portuguese publication O’Jogo, said “in football you never know what can happen and it’s obvious that if a world class club who play in the Champions League show up, it’s tempting for me.”
He went on to emphasise that “Southampton are a good club in England, where I’ve been treated very well, we have been successful” and that he’s happy where he is.
The 32-year-old centre back has been near ever-present for the club since he signed from Crystal Palace in 2010. Fonte has only missed four league games since the start of the 2013/14 season, and his performances on the international stage as Portugal claimed the Euro 2016 trophy will have surely garnered further attention.
Manager Claude Puel believes that Fonte will stay at the club, despite the rumours. When asked if Fonte will be a Saints player this campaign, he said “Yes. He is a very important player for the squad and the team. Jose came back with the squad and it’s important to keep him with a good head and attitude.”
Moving from seasoned veteran to promising youth, Harrison Reed has been touted for his breakout season by the Guardian’s Alan Smith. In a list of the 10 emerging players, Reed featured at number two, just behind Spurs’ Josh Onomah.
Reed featured just once for Southampton last season, and after a loan move to Rangers in January failed to materialise, the combative midfielder was left out of Ronald Koeman’s plans.
The youngster has featured consistently in preseason, and Victor Wanyama’s departure could open up space in the first team line up for him to make an impact.
However, the signing of Pierre Emile-Hojberg could leave Reed struggling for first team action.
20-year-old striker Sam Gallagher is set for a move to championship side Blackburn Rovers, according to the Daily Mail.
Gallagher struggled to impress on loan at MK Dons last season, where he failed to score in 15 appearances, but Owen Coyle is keen to bring the 6’4” target man to Ewood Park.
He was heavily praised by Mauricio Pochettino during his tenure at St Marys, but has failed to push on and make an impact at the club.
The youngster is very strong in the air, as would be expected with his height, but at times his finishing was found wanting. He definitely has the talent to bully defenders in the Championship, however, and hopefully stake his claim to a bigger role at St Marys next season.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Stuart MacFarlane