Southampton fans will feel confident that the club will kick on this season

New Southampton FC loan signing Danny Ings at the Staplewood Campus on August 9, 2018 in Southampton, England. Danny Ings joins Southampton FC on a season long loan deal from Liverpool.

A brush with relegation last season was a warning for Southampton - but how much have they done to fix the problems that saw the club under such pressure last time around?

Danny Ings during a Southampton FC training session at the Staplewood Campus on August 10, 2018 in Southampton, England.

Southampton were one of the Premier League's poster-boys of progress a few years ago, regularly selling their best players and yet still continuing to progress up the League. After a few top-half finishes, however, last season's 17th place suddenly made a reboot very necessary.

Mark Hughes' season-end squad lacked key figures - Guido Carrillo proved not to be the goalscorer Southampton sorely needed, while Virgil van Dijk would prove near-impossible to replace.

 

The striker issue is a big one; no one created more chances, outside of the top six, than Southampton last season and yet their four strikers scored just 14 goals between them.

Danny Ings could be the answer, arriving on a loan from Liverpool with an obligation to buy. Ings' injury record and four goals in three years don't suggest that he's the saviour Southampton need, but he doesn't have the ability.

Ings bagged 11 goals in his only full Premier League season to date - at 22 years old and in a relegated Burnley side. If Southampton's players can keep creating, Ings can certainly do his part. His pace, movement, and work-rate mean that he's an asset even without scoring, but goals will be how he's judged at St Mary's - Southampton don't need a second Shane Long.

The decision not to sell Van Dijk a year ago was a brave and admirable one - but possibily the wrong one. Southampton could have done a lot with that money last summer, but they've finally got their replacement in Jannik Vestergaard for £22.5m from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Jannik Vestergaard as Southampton FC take part in their first day of their pre-season training camp, on July 23, 2018 in Evian-les-Bains, France.

Mohamed Elyounoussi, Angus Gunn, and Stuart Armstrong round off the rest of the signings - all players who should add depth and genuine options to Hughes this year.

As for sales, Southampton moved on three failed signings in Jordy Clasie, Sofiane Boufhal, and Carrillo - albeit only on loan - while Dusan Tadic left for Ajax. Tadic will be missed, certainly, but the others simply needed to leave.

All in all, Southampton are certainly in a better position than they were at the end of the season - something that has been rare for them in recent years as clubs poached their stars. The threat of relegation was a shock last season, very few are tipping Southampton to be in trouble this term.

Mark Hughes during a Southampton FC press conference at the Staplewood Campus on August 10, 2018 in Southampton, England.

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