Could Southampton face a relegation battle after nightmare summer?

Luke Shaw and Southampton players

The Saints face a tough season after selling a number of top players this summer.

Southampton were always going to find it tough to match their highly impressive 2013/14 campaign next season, but after selling the majority of their first team players in the transfer window Saints fans may need to adjust their expectations even further.

The sales of Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert to Liverpool, Calum Chambers to Arsenal and Luke Shaw to Manchester United leaves Southampton dangerously short of quality players, and the summer exodus may not be over yet.

Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin are being tipped to join their former manager, Mauricio Pochettino, at Tottenham Hotspur. And their departures would leave the squad a shadow of the one that finished eighth in the Premier League last season.

Pochettino's exit will be a tough bridge to overcome in itself. The Argentine's attacking brand of football made the Saints one of the most exciting teams in the division last season, often pressing and passing teams into submission.

He has been replaced by Ronald Koeman, a man with plenty of managerial experience in Europe but none in the Premier League.

Pochettino, like Koeman, joined the Saints having never managed in England. But unlike the Dutchman, he was handed an established side to build upon as opposed to a team in need of rebuilding after losing many of its best players.

Without taking into account the possible impending sales of Schneiderlin and Rodriguez, the Saints have made a profit of around £73million this summer and Koeman will presumably be handed a good portion of that to reinvest in the squad.

Despite their success, however, the club have not spent particularly well in the transfer market since they were promoted to the top flight.

Last season's big-money buys, along with Lovren, were Victor Wanyama for £12.5million and Dani Osvaldo for £15million. Both Wanyama and Osvaldo struggled to make an impact last season, and the latter was loaned out to Juventus in January and is set for a permanent move to Italy.

It remains to be seen whether Dušan Tadić and Graziano Pellè - each purchased this summer for fees in the region of £10million - will be able to make the adjustment to Premier League football.

If Southampton cannot attract top talent to St Mary's they will rely on their much-vaunted academy, which has produced players such as Lallana, Shaw, Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale.

Saints fans will be hoping that the next batch of talent to come through the team's youth ranks, along with Koeman's signings, will be enough to stave off relegation next season.

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