Southampton’s continued growth as Premier League pretenders has been impressive, but doing so having sold five of their regular first-teamers last summer makes the current campaign all the more remarkable.
Saints sit seventh in the league with ten games to go, having coped so easily with the departures of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers.
That’s one place higher than they finished last term, while the club are on course for a record points haul in the division.
So as rumours of another fire sale on the south coast emerge, the reaction should be far more placid than the relegation predictions that followed the rush of departures at the end of last term.
Morgan Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne, Toby Alderweireld and Jay Rodriguez are all set to leave St Mary’s according to recent reports, but even if they do that is no cause for concern.
For starters, the Saints have shown themselves to be wise heads in the transfer market. While Lambert and Lovren continually fail to impress their new fans at Liverpool, their south-coast replacements are thriving.
Graziano Pelle took no time to adjust to the top flight, Alderweireld is playing so well he is already being eyed by the division’s larger sides and Ryan Bertrand looks a more likely England call-up than Shaw at the moment.
With the academy at the club already producing first-teamers, Ronald Koeman doesn’t even necessarily have to dip into the transfer market to replace the quartet should they leave.
Then there’s the fact that the 9/1 top-four hopefuls have won just shy of half of their games without Schneiderlin or Alderweireld in the side, are unbeaten when Clyne doesn’t start and have been denied Rodriguez’s services all season.
If we were Southampton, we’d cash in now.