Opinion: Why Southampton have doomed themselves with their January transfer business

Southampton saw little excitement in the transfer market last month, with the overwhelming news being the loss of Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool.

Opinion: Why Southampton have doomed themselves with their January transfer business
(Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

Mauricio Pellegrino has undoubtedly been on the receiving end of some much-deserved criticism since his arrival on the south coast last month.

With Southampton struggling at the wrong end of the table, the recent transfer window was a fortunate opportunity for the boss to improve his playing squad - considering they had just banked £75 million from the sale of inevitable departure Virgil van Dijk

Goals have seemingly been the issue for the Saints as they continued to struggle to find the back of the net going into January and there were a number of potential acquisitions being mentioned with a move to St. Mary's: Daniel Sturridge being perhaps the most high-profile suggestion.

However, now the window is shut for another six months and Southampton are lingering in the bottom three of the Premier League table following the club's home draw to fellow south coast Brighton & Hove Albion, drifting one point off safety for another campaign. 

Did the Saints concede defeat to the sale of Virgil van Dijk?

It was certainly inevitable that the side's most prized possession would be exiting in January having so aggressively pushed for a move last summer, but it's also unquestionable that Southampton supporters are wholeheartedly satisfied with the sum of cash Liverpool lumped on them - a total of £75 million plus future add-ons. 

The squad needed strengthening and despite the broad wealth of clubs in the top-flight, the Saints were identifiably lacking in funds so the huge fee received was expected and should have gone towards the playing staff to ensure the best possible chance of Premier League football at St. Mary's next season. 

Van Dijk did eventually earn his move to Merseyside, announced a week prior to the official opening of the transfer window, and it would have given Southampton an advantage for possible recruitments last month. 

 

Saints showed ambition with intent of former player returning

One footballer who was heavily rumoured to be on the move during the winter market was Arsenal attacker Theo Walcott; a player who was left frustrated on the Gunners' fringes and Pellegrino was thought to be likely to make an approach for the ex-Saints player having left for the capital in 2006. 

Day after day, it's fair to say the likelihood of the 28-year-old transferring to the Hampshire side were becoming slim until it was announced Everton were Walcott's new employers.

Southampton supporters left in anger that the money was behind held back that would have caused such a name to arrive in fruition. 

Unappealing Argentine unites with fellow countryman 

Mauricio Pellegrino's lack of contacts, or experience as a manager in the professional game, played a major factor in Southampton's player recruitment in January and any fans who thought the opposite were being dramatically optimistic. 

Sturridge would have been an ideal signing for the Saints last month when you take into consideration his experience of this division, albeit never actually being in a relegation scrap, but his regular goalscoring record, despite injuries, is precisely what Pellegrino needed to save the club's season - a handful of matches at Liverpool may have enabled this move to go through. 

Meanwhile, it turned out the manager was targeting an unsatisfying acquisition in accordance to the majority of supporters in the shape of Guido Carrillo of AS Monaco

Born in Argentina, the 26-year-old has failed to make an impressive impact in the southern depths of France, meaning it is quite astonishing Mauricio Pellegrino had opted to take Carrillo to the Premier League.

It is undoubtedly fair to say that none of the Saints' problems have been solved and, in fact, the squad has become exponentially weaker following the exit of van Dijk.