The curse of Europa League involvement has struck regularly in recent seasons, with sides such as Newcastle and Everton unable to balance the demands of competing on an additional front with the previous campaign’s Premier League performance levels.
Southampton are the latest club unused to the plate-spinning act attempting to avoid it’s negative impact on their domestic divisional standing and they are as short as 5/2 to finish in the bottom half in 2015/16.
Arguably the best effort among sides of a similar stature to reduce the impact of European obligations in recent years has been that of Swansea, who dropped only three positions between 2011/12 and 2012/3.
The Swans’ Europa League season differed from those of Everton and Newcastle in one respect and it’s a ploy Southampton seem keen on reenacting.
Namely buying players in bulk – south Wales’ finest inducted no fewer than 13 bodies including Wilfried Bony and Jonjo Shelvey before the January window, adding a further four in the first month of 2013.
The summer is still young, but the Saints have already acquired Juanmi and Cedric Soares, while links to Virgil van Dijk refuse to disappear and Sven Bender has emerged as a target.
Investing heavily in reinforcements may seem like an obvious tactic ahead of a campaign in which upwards of eight extra games and countless extra miles are to be encountered.
Yet neither Everton, nor Newcastle, appeared to feel it was necessary and both suffered the consequences.
The Toffees brought in five players, but two (Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku) had been at Goodison Park on loan the season before, while one (Brendan Galloway) was a youngster purchased with the future in mind.
Roberto Martinez’s side finished six places lower than they had the previous season in 2014/15, a significant drop that was nonetheless nothing compared to Newcastle’s Europa League-hampered 2012/13.
Having finished fifth a year before, they ended the following term in 16th after signing only four players in the summer, two of whom (Curtis Good and Romain Amalfitano) never played a league game for the club.