Southampton supporters have been pretty disappointed in recent times after seeing their team suffer a fifth Premier League loss of the campaign at the weekend.
Mark Hughes’ men went into their encounter with high-flying Chelsea at St Mary’s having lost each of their last two league games, yet having beaten Everton to reach the last 16 of the Carabao Cup in their preceding clash. But the Saints weren’t able to maintain the momentum built from victory at Goodison Park as goals from Eden Hazard, Ross Barkley, and Alvaro Morata sealed an easy 3-0 win for Maurizio Sarri’s Blues, thus leaving Southampton with just five points from their opening eight Premier League games.
Thus, there have been many despondent Saints fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are hoping for serious improvement from their side in the coming weeks, especially given they were reasonably busy during the summer transfer window.
The South Coast club were praised for the signings they made during the close season, but also the fact that they didn’t sell any of their most prized assets, which was a far cry away from the summer of 2014, with Luke Shaw one man who left St Mary’s by joining Manchester United for £33.75 million (as per Transfermarkt).
And while the Saints did brilliantly to earn a huge sum of money for the left back, it left them short in that department, only to seal a loan deal and then a permanent one for fellow Englishman Ryan Bertrand, who joined the club for £12.01 million (as per Transfermarkt) in February 2015.
And while the departure of Shaw certainly disappointed some Southampton fans, it has enabled former Chelsea star Bertrand to become a lynchpin at the South Coast outfit.
Ultimately, 29-year-old Bertrand was one of several players struggling for regular minutes at Chelsea during his time at Stamford Bridge, playing just 57 times for the Blues between his debut back in 2006 and his permanent departure in 2015.
And Southampton have been the main beneficiaries from his difficulties in luring him to the South Coast three-and-a-half years ago, from which they have reaped the rewards with Bertrand going on to play 155 games for the Saints, in which time he has scored seven goals and laid on 18 assists.
During that time, the left back became England’s number one choice in that position with nine caps in 2017 and 19 overall, with the defender perhaps a touch unfortunate not to go to the World Cup this summer – Southampton’s struggles near the lower end of the Premier League may have possibly played a part in Gareth Southgate’s decision.
And while the 29-year-old maybe wasn’t at his absolute best last season, he has otherwise been consistently solid down the Saints left flank since his move from Chelsea, and actually earned a spot in the PFA Team of the Year for his exploits in his first campaign at St Mary’s.
Thus, while the Saints have been guilty of selling their best players in recent times, they have more often than not replaced them well, with Shaw’s departure to United, and the £21.74 million profit that came with his exit and Bertrand’s arrival, a clear example of their shrewd recruitment.
Significantly, Shaw’s departure has enabled Bertrand to become a Southampton lynchpin in the last few years.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!