Last season certainly didn’t go to plan for the Saints. A club which had been so solid for several seasons in the Premier League found themselves in the mire of a relegation battle, which led to the arrival of Mark Hughes at the club.
The Welsh boss managed to deliver safety for the South Coast outfit, but problems still seemingly remain for the side who finished a below-par 17th last term. Mark Hughes and Ralph Krueger have tried to avoid a repeat of last season, by splashing out on new additions in the summer window. Players the calibre of Mohamed Elyounoussi signed from Basel for relatively big fees, and a much needed goal scorer was signed in the form of Danny Ings from Liverpool.
However, the one issue Krueger and the Welsh boss failed to fix was in the middle of the park. With Steven Davis now 33-years-old and Spaniard Oriol Romeu inconsistent, this is one area which should have been heavily invested in. In truth, ever since Victor Wanyama left St Mary’s Southampton have had a hole in the middle. A true ball-winning defensive midfielder would help the Saints control games in terms of possession and gain a foothold in matches. In the modern game, a holding midfielder is a crucial role.
In the 2-1 loss away at Everton, it was evident Southampton were being overrun in the middle by Everton’s talented midfield. They were in desperate need of a midfielder who could break up play and prevent the Merseyside club from being too comfortable on the ball. Now they have the firepower up front in the form of Danny Ings, they need to make sure they get the ball to his feet as much as possible. Not signing a top-rate defensive midfielder in the summer window is something Ralph Krueger and Mark Hughes will live to regret.