EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Stelling on Ronald Koeman benefit to Southampton

Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling believes Ronald Koeman's standing in world football will serve Southampton well in the January transfer window.

Carlsberg Jeff Stelling Christmas Speech

Southampton have already wrapped up one deal for January, with Dutch winger Eljero Elia due to arrive on loan from Werder Bremen.

He is likely to be the first of many arrivals at St Mary’s, with the Saints still rebuilding on the back of a destabilising summer which saw several key men head through the exits.

Ronald Koeman has performed minor miracles in getting the club back on track, with a remarkable opening to the 2014/15 campaign placing them among the early pacesetters.

A slight wobble has been endured since then, but a 3-0 victory over Everton on Saturday has the south coast club firmly back on track.

Attention can now be turned to the upcoming transfer window, with Koeman’s standing in world football – following a glittering playing career which saw him represent the likes of Ajax and Barcelona as well as the Holland national team – expected to serve the Saints well in their pursuit of fresh faces.

Jeff Stelling took a break from filming his alternative Christmas speech for the Carlsberg Fan Squad, released on Boxing Day, to discuss that issue with HITC Sport, and here is what he had to say: “Southampton were a breath of fresh air for the opening three months of the season, and that was brilliant. But they definitely lack the depth that even a West Ham have got, yet alone the big boys.

“The issues they have had, (Morgan) Schneiderlin has picked up an injury and then you get one or two having a dip in form, (Dusan) Tadic started brilliantly but has gone off the boil a bit, things turn around.

“I think they will buy one or two, possibly three, in the transfer window. I think Koeman’s reputation is such that they will be decent players, that will help them to bring decent players in. I still see them having a decent season. Not top four necessarily, but top-six, seven or eight. After what happened to them with the player exodus, that will be a real achievement.”

There are still plenty of sizeable hurdles for Southampton to overcome, with a Boxing Day meeting with Crystal Palace followed by Premier League clashes with Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle United.

Koeman will hope to have fresh faces on board by the time the Saints visit Old Trafford and St James’ Park, with those fixtures arriving in mid-January.

Stelling is right to suggest that he can lure big names to St Mary’s, and his knowledge of European football will also prove invaluable in a difficult New Year market which tends to see domestic asking prices soar.

If Carlsberg did Christmas speeches…. Head to CarlsbergFanSquad.co.uk at midday on Boxing Day to see Jeff Stelling's ultimate review of the year. Click here for a sneak peek behind the scenes. Follow @CarlsbergFooty for Barclays Premier League ticket giveaways and more from the Carlsberg Fan Squad.

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