At times Southampton have flourished under the tutelage of Dutch coach Ronald Koeman this season, but their 2015/16 campaign promises to be even better…if two transfer priorities are landed.
The Saints – 21/10 to beat Tottenham next – were the source of ample pre-season comedy when their prize assets were pilfered by the strong-arm negotiation strategies of various Premier League heavyweights, with some quarters even anticipating relegation for the south coast club.
Koeman invested the money they made on the aforementioned sales spectacularly and, in tandem with a sharp display of tactical savvy, had the club competing for a top-four finish at one stage.
Realising this improbable aspiration doesn’t look likely at this stage – Southampton are eight points adrift of fourth-place Manchester City with five games to go – but they could still nail a Europa League spot in what has been a remarkable campaign.
Should they snare Feyenoord twosome Jordy Clasie and Tonny Vilhena this summer, their prospects of finishing in the Champions League qualification spots will be immeasurably enhanced.
As mentioned above, those who Koeman has recruited thus far have performed admirably, but only one of these – Graziano Pelle – had he managed before.
The Italian has struggled for goals post-Christmas, but he was in barely-believable scoring form prior to the festive period.
He bagged eight of his nine league strikes so far inside 16 games, before tailing off at the turn of the year.
In Clasie and Vilhenna though, Pelle will be reunited with two lauded conjurers who played key roles in helping him to 23 Eredivisie goals in 2013/14, a season in which a Koeman-steered Feyenoord finished second.
The former assisted seven goals in total, as did his diminutive colleague.
Having spent time coaching the pair in the past, both can be relied upon to be a hit in the Premier League, just as those Koeman has selected to sign thus far have been and this promises a greater number of goals and, subsequently, wins for Southampton next season.