Southampton Season Preview: How will Saints cope without Ings?
Photo by Robin Jones via Getty images

Southampton will go into the new season with a fair amount of nerves, after star man Danny Ings left the club just days before the start of the Premier League season.

The impact that Ings has had on the Saints’ last two seasons is clear to see as he has dragged them out of any potential relegation scraps at vital parts of the season. 

Whether or not Southampton will replace Ings remains to be seen, but nevertheless, goals are going to be harder to come by. Players such as Che Adams and Nathan Redmond are going to need to step up significantly if Southampton want to make any progress on last seasons 15th placed finish.

  • Transfer Business

As well as the departure of Ings, Southampton have also lost a club stalwart in left-back Ryan Bertrand, who has joined Leicester City as a free agent.

They have however bought a couple of players with the future in mind. Young fullback Romain Perraud has been signed as a long term replacement for Bertrand. Perraud cost almost £11 million but is seen as an exciting prospect following a strong season with Stade Brest.

The Saints have also pulled off a real coup by signing Chelsea prospect Valentino Livramento. At just 18 years old, and with England appearances in various age groups, Livramento is an exciting prospect that Chelsea were desperate to keep hold of. He plays on the right hand side, either as a wing back or as a right-sided midfielder. In this sense, he will fit in well to Hasenhuttl’s preferred 4-4-2 formation.

Sotuhampton have also managed to secure the permanent services of Theo Walcott. The 32-year-old spent last season on loan at St Mary’s from Everton and impressed, especially in the early part of the season. 

  • Where the season can be won and lost

Much of Southampton’s success this season will be down to whether or not they can find a replacement for Danny Ings, whether that’s using the resources already available at the club or by signing someone else. 

Defensively, the Saints look solid, especially if Jannik Vestegaard can put in the kind of performances he did for Denmark in Euro 2020. 

The worry they will have is where the goals will come from. Set pieces will surely be their best route to goal, with James Ward Prowse’s excellence from both free-kicks and corners.

  • One to Watch

The aforementioned Che Adams will be looking to be the difference for Southampton this season. 

Having struggled to adapt to Premier League football in his first season at the club, Adams had a significantly better second season, scoring 9 goals in the league.

He will be looking to improve even more in his third season, and will see an opportunity to become Southampton’s main man following Ings’ departure.

It will be interesting to see whether he can add a hatful of goals to his often impressive performances.

  • Potential Wildcard

Moussa Djenepo is yet to show his best in a Saints shirt since his £14 million move from Standard Liege but, now with 2 seasons of Premier League experience under his belt, the Mali international will be looking for a breakthrough season.

Still only 23, he has plenty of time to prove that he has the quality to be a Premier League player but, with his contract running out in 2023, this seems like a big season for him. 

Hasenhuttl will be hoping that he can show more of the brilliance he has shown in flashes since he came to St Mary’s. 

What’s important, however, is that he stays injury free in order to have a proper run in the team. So far, his Saints career has been a bit stop-start due to injury disruptions. Is this his time to become Saints’ go -to man?

  • What to expect

Even the most optimistic Southampton fan will admit that this season is likely to be challenging. Having lost their star man, Southampton now have to attempt to show real progress on their disappointing 15th place finish in the league last season. 

Hasenhuttl will be looking to the cup competitions to provide some joy for fans, like their run to the Fa Cup semi-finals did last year. 

There will be times this coming season that things will look bleak but the outcome of their season will be decided by how they bounce back to the odd heavy defeat or goalless run. 

The success of youngsters such as Kyle Walker-Peters, Moussa Djenepo and Tino Livramento will also have a big impact on how their season will go. 

Predicted Finish: 16th

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