Southampton’s rise in the Premier League just goes on and one. Ronald Koeman was not expected to improve on the seventh position and 60 points he achieved in 2014-15, but proved just how good a manager he is by masterminding a storming second half to the season to finish a place and three points better off. They struggle a bit in the first half of the campaign but it was only after the return of Fraser Foster from a long term knee injury that Southampton’s form really picked up. The English keeper kept six consecutive clean sheets as they surged up the table, and they finished the season on a high, beating Man City home and Tottenham away before routing Crystal Palace on the final day
Ronald Koeman left the fans in shock, when he decided to move to Everton this summer. However the Saints management has been very smart in getting Claude Puel as a replacement for the Dutchman. Puel created history in Ligue 1 last season finishing fourth with Nice, a team which had finished 17th and 11th in the previous two. The Frenchman is exactly the perfect manager to replace Koeman at the South Coast club. Southampton will surely be busy this summer, as they look to strengthen before the start of next season. Nathan Redmond has already joined the club from Norwich while Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama have shifted base to Liverpool and Spurs respectively.
Here we look at the potential starting XI to start for Southampton next season.
Goalkeeper: Fraser Foster
One of the best goalkeepers in the league and deserves a chance in the national team over Joe Hart, after the City goalkeeper had a horrendous Euro 2016. He was brilliant for the Saints after returning from a long term injury. He is a certain starter for Southampton unless injury forces him to withdraw.
Defense: Cedric Soares, Jose Fonte, Virgil van Dijk and Ryan Bertrand.
The back line is likely to remain the same this season with Fonte and Dijik staying in the centre. Van Dijik has been linked with a number of clubs this summer, however he was one of Southampton’s best players last season, therefore it is unlikely he will be allowed to leave. Bertrand is a great asset to have in the team, as he is lethal going forward. One of the strong pillars in defense, definite starter come August 13th.
Midfield: Nathan Redmond, Steven Davis/ Jordy Clasie/ James Ward-Prowse and Dusan Tadic
With Sadio Mane leaving and Nathan Redmond closing in on a move to St.Mary’s, Redmond could be the best choice on the right-side next season. Steven Davis, Jordy Clasie and James Ward-Prowse could play in the central midfield on the rotational basis given the amount of matches Southampton are going to play next season. In the number 10 role, we might see Tadic, who was third best playmaker in terms of assists last season.
Forward: Shane Long and Laurent Depoitre
Shane long was brilliant last season for the Saints and has to start next season. He scored ten times in 28 Premier League matches and was often responsible for dragging Southampton over the line. Pelle is departure is imminent and Puel will be wise to cash in right now with one year on his contract left. Depoitre will be the perfect replacement. The Gent forward has goalscoring experience in the Champions League, and would be a great asset to have in the team.