Southampton's youth policy faces its sternest test yet this month

Southampton are facing the temptation of bringing in experienced stars to strengthen their bid for a Champions League spot this month.

Southampton's policy of entrusting in their youth products is currently facing its sternest test yet, with the side mounting a genuine challenge for a top-four spot.

The Saints have put a huge amount of faith in their academy system in recent times, throwing hoards of prospects into their first team and rewarding their promise. 

Their trust has paid dividends, with the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers all playing crucial functions for Southampton before moving on.

It has been the catalyst behind their success and even in the current senior side there are a number of talented youngsters who are receiving plenty of game time under Ronald Koeman.

Southampton are currently in third place in the Premier League table and, with just 17 games to play, they have a huge chance of claiming a spot amongst the elite. That brings with it a temptation to spend big in the transfer window, though.

It has been widely recognised that to sustain their lofty position the Saints will need to bring in additions to bolster their squad and they are expected to be active in the coming weeks. 

Koeman has commented on his desire to add a defender and a striker during this window, but with a Champions League spot so tantalisingly close the opportunity to bring in more proven stars is available.

Southampton are an attractive club to join at the moment and, with the monetary value that a spot in Europe's elite competition represents, it could be a case of speculating to accumulate this month. 

The Saints' only buy so far has been Eljero Elia, a 28-year-old winger, but they have also been linked with veteran midfielder Wesley Sneijder and it will be interesting to see whether Koeman opts for experience or youthful exuberance during the remainder of this window.  

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