Claude Puel assures fans he won't be rushing to replace Charlie Austin

Claude Puel assures fans he won't be rushing to replace Charlie Austin

The club's top scorer remains sidelined for around 4 months, but the Frenchman has maintained he trusts his other strikers

charlie-brown
Charlie Brown

The January transfer window beckons, but there's one man who's not feeling the pressure that it brings - Southampton manager Claude Puel

In the 39th minute of last Thursday's disappointing draw with Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Charlie Austin landed awkwardly on his right shoulder after a promising start to the game, adding salt to Puel's already-wounded side.  

With a total of nine goals in all competitions, Austin is Saints' top scorer by a landslide; Nathan Redmond is the next best with three. 

Even with this, Puel has stuck by his players' side, saying "it is important to look forward and to give chances to other players, like Shane Long or Jay Rodriguez".

However, both these strikers aren't having the best of seasons with two goals between them. 

So should Puel "approach January with calmness"?

Southampton's attacking woes

Coming into tonight's away fixture at Stoke City, Southampton sit one place above their opponents, having only scored 14 goals in the Premier League this season. 

Just to show how poor this is, only three teams have been equally shy in front of goal - Hull, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. With the latter being the only club not in the relegation zone. 

Some blame Puel's tactics whilst others blame the striking options. It's worth noting that the Saints' conversion rate so far has been a disastrous 8.4% - the worst in the league.

On top of this they have taken 81 shots at goal, a figure only topped by Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea - quite the company.  

So clearly Puel cannot be put to blame for a lack of chances created; the fault lies within the lack of confidence of his strikers. This is something that he can possibly try to re-install in the coming weeks.

Claude Puel looks to his Moroccan magician 

Puel has had fun with turning traditional wingers into goalscoring strikers in the past, most notably the legendary Thierry Henry

Former-Norwich winger Redmond was hoping to be the next apprentice but hasn't enjoyed it through the middle just yet

Moroccan international Sofiane Boufal has also enjoyed his spells for previous clubs hugging the touchline. 

So far this has been the case for the record-signing, however his coach insists "we have a striker" in Boufal after his wonder-goal that separated his side from Middlesbrough at the weekend. 

Have Southampton got enough firepower?

On paper Puel doesn't have enough at his disposal right now.

Even if Austin had not needed surgery on his shoulder, Rodriguez has looked half the player he used to be. Long is also short of confidence after having a record-season for top tier goals last year. 

Though Puel may like to preach a belief in his squad depth, it's more likely that he'll be making moves to strengthen it going forward. 

Whether that be recalling the powerful Sam Gallagher - currently out on loan to Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers - or searching the market, Southampton badly need a goal-scoring threat up front. 

VAVEL Logo