From buying players linked with the Champions League clubs to playing attractive football on the pitch, Southampton look fascinating to follow. How much of a role is their manager playing?
Southampton has been a relatively interesting club to watch ever since their promotion to the top flight, both on and off the field in terms of the progression of their football team.
They have played attractive football under both Nigel Adkins and Mauricio Pochettino since they arrived in the top flight and have made some eye-catching signings that one would perhaps not expect of a side entering only their second consecutive season in the top flight.
This summer has seen the recruitment of Victor Wanyama from Celtic who played an instrumental part of their Champions League campaign last term, and they have recently brought in Pablo Osvaldo from Roma. Both of these players, along with Gaston Ramirez from the previous summer were heavily linked to sides playing in the Champions League.
But what is attracting them to Southampton?
It is curious to watch, as last season Nigel Adkins was ruthlessly dismissed by the club last season to bring in current manager Mauricio Pochettino - which seems to be working out quite well for them.
Many had thought Adkins was doing a good job and was on his way to leading the side to Premier League safety in his first season in charge, but Southampton had a man lined up who they wanted to take them forward and went for it– now you might say that their ruthlessness has paid off, and they have brought in a manager who isn’t afraid to take on the bigger sides on the field, and can attract certain players to the club that you wouldn’t have thought possible otherwise.
But what is it that he does?
Osvaldo said after signing for the Saints: “He’s magnificent. It’s fantastic, great to work with him.”
Is the pull completely Pochettino with his style of play and as Osvaldo cites - being a great motivator? He had relative success in Spain with Espanyol and seems to be like playing attractive football. It appears that he’s trying to mould a good spine of the team together whilst using in bright young players like Luke Shaw to work with the team, which adds to the experience in the side the likes of Rickie Lambert bring. There’s a secret there that I fancy a few managers will want to know.
Some may argue the money has a lot to do with the new additions coming in; after all Gaston Ramirez snubbed bigger clubs last summer to sign while Adkins was still there. But the addition of Pochettino cannot have hurt, a manager with a continental approach who played the majority of his career on the European mainland.
So Southampton appear to be in very good health in terms of the direction the football team is heading in, but what are they working towards? Long-term Premier League status and a chance of European football in years to come? Maybe trying to assemble them for a cup run and tilts at a few honours.
They are certainly a side to keep an eye on over the coming years.
image: © ingythewingy