We all know of The Saints go marching in but nowadays it is more like The Saints go sneaking in; at least when it comes to their transfer activity anyway.
Perhaps it was the way Manchester United swooped in and took Alex Buttner from underneath their noses in the summer that made Nicola Cortese wise up to the ways of the Premier League transfer market but ever since he has made the South Coast club a force to be reckoned with.
First there was Gaston Ramirez. Linked with every Tom, Dick and Harry from Italy, Spain and England Ramirez was one of Europe’s top targets last summer. He seemed to be on his way elsewhere when out of the blue Southampton managed to pry away the highly-rated Uruguayan playmaker from Bologna for a club record £12 million.
Then there was Vegard Forren. On his way to a trial at Liverpool amid interest from Fulham and Everton when Cortese told him to head south and sign permanently; a task he fitted in on the same day as sacking Nigel Adkins and appointing Mauricio Pochettino (talk about tough day at the office).
The fact is Southampton are not afraid to ruffle some feathers, step on some toes and any other clichés you can roll off that essentially mean; Southampton will happily piss you off to get their man.
Now it is Leandro Damiao who has landed in the crosshairs of the club; which is bound to leave Tottenham fans chewing wasps.
Damiao has been perennially linked with Spurs ever since Andre Villas-Boas took over and he is possibly the winner for most irritating transfer target for 2012 and he is going to be a nominee once again in 2013; with Stevan Jovetic in hot pursuit.
Does he want to leave or not? Who knows; in fact I’m not sure he does.
Regardless reports in Italy this week have suggested that The Saints have entered the race for the Brazilian international by mounting a €20 million bid for the striker.
His club side Internacional have made it clear that they have no desire to sell him this summer. They recently sold two of their prized assets Fred and Rodrigo Moledo to the hotbed of Brazilian talent that is Ukraine and therefore have no need to sell.
"Nothing has come, clubs from everywhere sound him out all the time, but we don't even consider that anymore, as there are too many inquiries but offers never come. I am working with the idea of keeping the player, so that he doesn't leave."
But kudos to Southampton for not lying there and waiting for relegation or stagnation to simply envelope them. They are rolling a few dice and getting right in everyone’s faces this summer just like they did in January and this time last year.
And while it doesn’t seem likely that Damiao will sign for either Southampton or Spurs; be sure it won’t be long before Cortese is on the prowl for another big name to take The Saints that extra step next season.
image: © simonw92