This was supposed to be a tough season for Southampton. Isn’t that what the naysayers said? That the Saints would struggle following the summer exodus and the murmurings of discontent?
Well Ronald Koeman clearly has other ideas, as his exciting new side continues to exceed expectations.
Southampton are currently second in the Premier League, just three points behind leaders Chelsea and two points clear of current title-holders Manchester City.
While the title may be beyond them, a place in Europe certainly is not, and the players Koeman brought in this summer – along with those who remained while so many of their teammates left – are doing everything in their power to ensure St Mary’s is the place to be, not the place to depart.
One of those summer additions – Sadio Mane – made his Premier League debut on Saturday in the 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers, and the former Red Bull Salzburg forward looked like he could become the best of the lot.
In his 68 minutes on the pitch, Mane set up one goal, played three key passes, had three scoring attempts (two of which were on target), and went on four electrifying dribbles.
The 22-year-old also played eight forward passes, had an overall passing accuracy of 88 per cent and looked every inch a superstar in the making.
It is early days, but Mane’s goal-scoring record to date suggests Koeman has signed another bargain.
Let the Premier League be warned; Southampton are still on the up!