Is the securing of five of the clubs most important players long-term futures the most important piece of business Southampton will do in 2013?
Just earlier this week I asked the question whether Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese might just be the best in the league. His ruthless and uncompromising style may not get him many Christmas cards at the end of the year but there is little doubting its effectiveness.
Now I am ready to heap more praise on a man I have previously lambasted after he gave the all clear in the last few months for Southampton’s most important five signings; before the transfer window has even opened.
So who are they?
The most recent of the signings was Lallana. His early season form saw him receive a call-up to the England squad and while injuries have hampered his progress since then there is little doubting his class in the middle of the park or out wide.
His commitment was not unexpected. The club helped him through a rough period when he was diagnosed with a heart condition as a teenager and he is just repaying the faith.
Don’t be surprised to never see him leave St Marys.
Once upon a time it looked as though Puncheon was on his way out of the club after coming to blows with Signor Cortese and Nigel Adkins.
But he shut his mouth put his head down and earned himself a place back in the team; and with some effect.
At times he has been the clubs best player this season and was rewarded with a three-year-contract keeping him at the club until 2016.
One of the revelations of the Premier League season the English left-back has dazzled with his powerful runs down the left flank since being preferred to Scottish international Danny Fox.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United … you name them they have been linked with his signature. But the 17-year-old has a pre-contract arrangement in place and will sign a five-year-deal on July 12th; his 18th birthday.
What a revelation the Frenchman has been this season. He is a rare breed of player who seems to have gotten better the higher up the football league system he has risen and has been one of the best tacklers of the ball in the whole of Europe this season.
Now signed on the dotted line until 2017 the 24-year-old’s future looks bright.
This is the one all the fans wanted to see. The talismanic striker has continued his excellent form for the club into the Premier League and such form has seen fans, both Saints and neutrals, clamouring for an England call-up for the latest divisive Southampton number ‘7’.
He extended his stay at the club until 2016 last month.
Who do you think is the most important signing?
image: © wonker