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Why stability at St. Mary’s could see Southampton replicate Leicester next season

The Boot Room

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Having key players linked to moves away from St. Mary’s seems to be a reoccurring theme recently and it’s something Southampton fans have become accustomed to. Despite Ronald Koeman clearly stating that nobody will be sold in January, speculation persists that some of the league’s biggest clubs are after the likes of Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane and Shane Long.

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Speculation was fuelled after the 1-0 loss to Norwich at the beginning of January when Sadio Mane was dropped for disciplinary reasons and Victor Wanyama was given his marching orders after picking up two needless yellow cards. Many people saw Mane’s actions of turning up late to a pre-match meeting as a way to force through a move away from St. Mary’s whilst Wanyama’s red card raised questions over the Kenyan’s attitude and commitment to the Saints. Koeman publicly placed the duo on the Southampton naughty step in his post-match comments insisting that any player trying to force through a move away from St. Mary’s would spend the rest of their time on the south coast sitting in the stands.

Saints legend Matt le Tissier revealed in an interview that he was informed that Mane was late to the meeting due to not being informed of a time change. This along with recent news from an African football media outlet claiming that Wanyama is keen to extend his contract with Southampton will make pleasant hearing for Saints fans. Despite playing for a bigger club and earning more money, Wanyama, Mane and any other player that could be looking for a move away from St. Mary’s should take note of those that have left have left the club recently and realise that the grass isn’t always greener.

Take the quartet of players that swapped St. Mary’s for Anfield, for example. Executive Director of Football Les Reed probably still cracks a smile at the fact he managed to get £20m for Dejan Lovren; a player that has been heavily criticised for his defensive mistakes and one who, recently, has since been watching most Liverpool games from the bench. Adam Lallana struggled to make an impact in his debut season under Brendan Rodgers but looks as if he’ll thrive under Jurgen Klopp who plays a similar brand of football to the one that Lallana thrived under at Southampton. Nathaniel Clyne has had a relatively steady start to his career at Liverpool but is part of a Liverpool backline that has struggled to keep the ball out of their net as of late. Perhaps the most disappointing of the four that left for Liverpool is Rickie Lambert. Some suggest that Rodgers used the scouser as a tool to try and get Lallana and Lovren to follow. Lambert didn’t get the game time that he deserved and has now had to leave his dream club behind to get sporadic appearances in a West Brom shirt.

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Southampton youth product Calum Chambers left for Arsenal but after a decent start, has struggled to get a place in Wenger’s starting 11 whilst fellow academy graduate Luke Shaw struggled with injuries in his debut campaign at Old Trafford. The left back started this season strongly but is one of a number of United full backs that have been spending most of their time in the treatment room with long term injuries. This summer, Shaw was joined by Morgan Schneiderlin at United. Schneiderlin has arguably been the biggest miss out of the players that have left the Saints over the past 18 months with defensive midfield positions in Southampton’s side being one that has seen a lot of rotation over the course of the season. It is particularly gutting to not see Schneiderlin playing on a consistent basis in United’s team as his loyalty and commitment to Southampton deserves first team football at the highest level.

This season has definitely been a chance missed for Southampton with the unpredictability meaning opportunities for new teams to break into the top five or six. Whilst the club will look at the opening half of the season as a disappointing on the whole, with 15 games left and the Saints in good form, there is still definitely the opportunity to achieve something this season. The players at the club now will hopefully look to those that have left and see that it hasn’t always been beneficial to leave the club for irregular playing time and greater expectancy.

Southampton is a club with ambition. Whilst many people will suggest selling your top talent contradicts that, the ability to sign a player like Charlie Austin, who could have walked into pretty much any team when his contract expired at the end of the season, is a great piece of business and a terrific signing. With Koeman halfway through his contract, he’s beginning to be asked questions over the possibility of a contract extension. His response has been that it is dependent on the ambition shown by the board of the club. After the reported £4m transfer of Austin, Koeman said that the transfer displayed exactly the sort of ambition from the club that he’s after.

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Stability at the club is now key. A commitment from Koeman is crucial in ensuring that the club’s top talent stays put at St. Mary’s. A commitment from the boss, ambition from the board and hopefully the awareness that a move away from the club may not always be as rosy as it seems will hopefully keep this group of players together as well as a few to strengthen. Then, what next? Maybe, just maybe, Saints fans can dream that this time next season, they are where Leicester are.

Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by Huma Khan.

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Everton

£3m Roberto Martinez project Shani Tarashaj thrown on to Everton scrapheap

The Swiss talent has not developed into the star Everton’s former boss hoped he would.

Mathew Nash

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It appears as though Shani Tarashaj is finally on his way out of Everton for good. This morning he completed a loan move back to his former club Grasshoppers Zurich, with a view to a permanent move next summer.

With the potential of a permanent move to Grasshoppers, it would bring the curtain down on a move that simply never worked out.

Tarashaj joined Everton back in January 2016. Then Everton boss Roberto Martinez signed the attacking midfielder Shani Tarashaj from Grasshoppers with the fee involved, according to the Liverpool Echo, around £3 million.


“I feel he is going to bring something very, very special to us. He is probably the best young talent in Swiss football.

“There are a couple of young players with a good reputation but I think he could have really good future…I feel that he’s going to get fans off their feet. He’s that type of young talent that we like to attract to Goodison.” 

  – Roberto Martinez after signing Tarashaj


Tarashaj was loaned back to Grasshoppers until the end of the season. He continued his fine form, which saw him earn a first Swiss cap and make the national squad for Euro 2016.

(Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

But things quickly went wrong for Tarashaj.

Martinez was sacked, with Ronald Koeman clearly not fancying the Swiss star. A loan move in Germany went poorly. Eintracht Frankfurt snapped him up but he struggled with benign angina, severe tonsillitis and a knee ligament tear last summer compounded his misery.

Everton now face the fact they will likely lose Tarashaj next summer, without the 23-year-old ever playing a game for the club.

This £3 million gamble has clearly not paid off.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Now valued at £31.3m, Tottenham could have got Cengiz Under for £11.7m

Tottenham tried to sign the Roma winger last summer, but he headed to Italy.

Mathew Nash

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It seems that AS Roma winger Cengiz Under is a wanted man this summer. Manchester City are reportedly keen on the player, after an excellent debut season in Serie A. As reported by Calciomercato the Turkish international has a fond admirer in the form of City boss Pep Guardiola.

That has since seen his market value make the headlines. It is reported by Hurriyet that Under is valued at €35 million (£31.3 million). That report also suggests Tottenham are keen on the player. It seems unlikely and rather interesting timing, considering it came just hours after an opinion piece in the British press about Tottenham revisiting their previous interest.

(Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Because Spurs were keen on the player last summer.

Ajanspor reported at one point that Tottenham were close to signing the player from Istanbul Basaksehir. However, he headed to Roma instead. The player himself spoke of why he decided on Italy over the UK.


“I was convinced after we heard Monchi’s plan. Monchi [Roma’s director of football] explained they were making big changes. He made it clear that he wanted me as a player for the first-team squad, not as a future prospect. He valued me as a footballer in my own right now, as a rising star with potential.”

Cengiz Under on why he chose Roma


Under has since gone on to have a great season in the Italian capital and has clearly caught the eye of other clubs.

The fee he joined Roma for was a bargain. The Giallorossi snapped up Under for a fee of just £11.7 million.

Tottenham must no doubt regret not managing to secure a deal for the player last summer. He was at a bargain price and proved to be a successful recruit.

If Tottenham want him again in the future, they are looking at paying double what they might have 12 months ago.

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Everton

Marco Silva should aim for Christian Kabasele reunion at Everton

The Belgian defender would be an astute addition for the Toffees.

Max Cohen

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Christian Kabasele
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Everton are still without a signing this transfer window, but the side requires strengthening, nonetheless, especially in the centre-back position.

Marco Silva should target Christian Kabasele to bolster his defensive options, a player he knows well from his time managing at Watford.

Kabasele began his career in Belgium and enjoyed success at Genk before moving to Vicarage Road in the summer of 2016.

The centre-half has been capped once by Belgium, as he made the Euro 2016 squad and was cut at the last moment in the Red Devils’ World Cup 2018 team.

His international involvement and the fact he was even being considered in the star-studded Belgium set-up is a measure of his talent.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

At Watford, the defender bagged four goals in 44 appearances, illustrating his threat from set pieces.

He was also the most consistent performer at the back for the Hornets, eliciting praise from the Watford support.

Everton fans in particular will know the danger the Belgian poses, as Kabasele flicked home a powerful header at Goodison Park during a league meeting in November 2017.

Marco Silva knows the defender well, as he played in every league match when Silva was the manager, starting all but one.

And the Portuguese has praised the Belgian in the past, hailing his performance when talking with the Hertfordshire Mercury in 2017, after a 3-0 win at St. James’ Park.

“Kabasele was brilliant. He had a fantastic game. He improves every day. He had a very good game with and without the ball and even with offensive set-pieces he has improved.”

As Everton supporters wait for their first signing of the summer, the club would do well to target Christian Kabasele, a proven Premier League centre-back who is a favourite of the Toffees boss.

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