Back in the summer transfer window of 2014, Southampton sealed a deal to bring playmaker Dusan Tadic to St Mary’s on a four-year contract.
The 29-year-old had impressed at Dutch outfit FC Twente to thus earn a move to the South Coast outfit little over four years, which at the time became Ronald Koeman’s first signing as Saints boss following his appointment as boss earlier that summer.
And there were plenty of Southampton fans back in 2014 who took to Twitter to express their views on their side’s addition, with several absolutely thrilled with the signing…
— Rick H (@rick_harris1) July 8, 2014
— Scott Murray (@ScottWM98) July 8, 2014
@SouthamptonFC fitting that he should be signed on the day Markus saved us. Looks a great signing.
— andy (@nevnan) July 8, 2014
— Simon Dibden (@DibdenSimon) July 8, 2014
@SouthamptonFC finally some good news!
— luke briggs (@LukeBriggs20) July 8, 2014
— Saintjeff (@saintjeff52) July 8, 2014
@SouthamptonFC Lallana who????
— Ashley Leach (@ashsaints88) July 8, 2014
— Jessica Taylor (@_JT_91x) July 8, 2014
And given how much Tadic gave the Saints during his four-year spell at the club, and how big a part he played in their ascent into the top half of the Premier League table, those Saints fans were right to praise a transfer coup from manager Koeman and vice-chairman Les Reed.
Ultimately, the summer of 2014 saw Southampton’s squad torn apart given the likes of Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw, and Rickie Lambert all left the club for bigger and better things, thus leaving Koeman and Reed to pick up the pieces to try and rebuild a squad that finished eighth the season before under Mauricio Pochettino.
And Tadic was the first of many shrewd additions that summer in a bid to do just that, what with the Serbia international having produced the goods for Twente in the Eredivisie between 2012 and 2014, scoring an impressive 32 goals in just 85 games for the club.
And while he wasn’t as prolific at Southampton, Tadic certainly proved his worth to the Saints with 24 goals in 162 appearances for the club, 21 of which coming in the Premier League in helping the South Coast outfit to three top ten finishes in his four seasons at St Mary’s.
And while that is not a goal record that pulled up any trees during his time at the club, he more than made up for it with his tally of 35 assists alongside his overall influence in the final third of the field, be it out wide down the left or in a slightly more advanced role.
Yes, some Saints fans would have wanted more from the 29-year-old last season in their struggle to 17th place in the Premier League table, finishing the campaign with just six goals to his name, but it was the Serbian who produced the goods in that vital 2-1 win over Bournemouth late on in the campaign – a match that, had they not won, would probably have consigned them to relegation.
So while last season was on the whole a disappointing one, for both Tadic and the club, the 29-year-old still finished the campaign in the hearts of Southampton fans given the role he played in keeping them up, with his departure to Dutch giants Ajax during the summer something of a surprise given just how influential he was during his time on the South Coast.
Thus, those Saints supporters who marvelled at their side’s decision to sign the Serbian were absolutely spot on – he certainly turned out to be a Koeman and Reed masterstroke.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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