COMMENT By Harvey Byrne
Football Insider analyses the three talking points as Southampton drew 1-1 against Hapoel in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Nathan Redmond should be axed in January
The signing of the 22-year-old in the summer was quite a bizarre one to begin with. He was brought in to replace Sadio Mane, who had completed a £30million move to Liverpool. However, Claude Puel got the idea that he could convert Redmond into a striker. That soon failed and the England Under-21 has switched back to his natural wing role, where he has so far struggled to deliver. His decision making is all wrong and he also struggles with simple passes. Dusan Tadic and Sofiane Boufal should always be the players to start on the wings from now on and Redmond is simply not good enough for Saints. He should be axed from the team sooner rather than later.
Charlie Austin’s injury is a killer blow
The striker is the only Southampton player seemingly capable of putting the ball consistently int the back of the net. He has scored nine goals for the south coast club this season, while Redmond trails someway behind in second with three goals. Only Burnley and Hull have scored less goals than Southampton’s 13 in the Premier League this season and the Saints now must hope that Austin’s injury isn’t too serious. Otherwise, there will be serious questions as to where the goals will come from.
Senior changes needed
Southampton for the past few years have been known as the side who can sell their best players to the top clubs and then replace them for a fraction of the price. However, warning signs were sent out after the 2015 summer window with the additions of Cuco Martina, Juanmi, Jordy Clasie, Maarten Stekelenburg and Steven Caulker, who are or were all well below the quality needed. Now Southampton’s elimination from the Europa League group stage, as well as the poor showing in the league has showed that it can no longer be done. Ronald Koeman was Southampton’s biggest loss in the summer, only added to by the departures of Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane. It is now time that the Saints board started to invest the money they have received from player sales and show some ambition, or sell the club for someone who is going to help the side progress further. The Liebherr era has been one of the best for the team and fans and Markus Liebherr will always be highly remembered, but it is now time for change.
In other Southampton news, Everton have intensified their interest in this Saints defender.