Following a dismal run of 12 matches without a win, the Southampton fans were finally given something to shout about in the Transfer Tavern last weekend as they recorded a 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s job has been called into question for some time now, but the Argentine gave himself a lifeline with a vital victory over Alan Pardew’s rock-bottom West Brom side on Saturday afternoon. The last time Southampton tasted victory was against Everton at the end of November, and Pellegrino will be dearly hoping his side can build on their most recent result and steer clear of safety in the next few weeks.
Guido Carrillo, Southampton’s only January signing whom they acquired from Monaco for a fee of £19 million was handed his first start for the club against The Baggies. Pellegrino’s lack of activity in the transfer window was met with plenty of surprise and frustration from the Southampton supporters who were eager to see their club reinvest the £75 million they accumulated from Van Dijk’s sale to Liverpool.
However, the expectations of the supporters were certainly not met by the actions of the Southampton hierarchy, despite plenty of speculation throughout January. According to The Independent, The Saints were interested in signing Tottenham Hotspur’s midfielder Erik Lamela (valued at £22.5 million by Transfermarkt) on transfer deadline day, and their failure to secure the Argentine’s services could prove costly to Southampton at the end of the season.
The signing of Lamela would have injected a spark of creativity and determination into Southampton’s attacking midfield that has been desperately missing for the entirety of the campaign thus far. Southampton did manage to score three goals last weekend, but two of those strikes were set-pieces and it must be considered that they were pitted against the league’s bottom club.
Tougher tests undoubtedly await the Saints, and their lack of creativity in midfield could prevent them from enjoying the same level of success they enjoyed against West Brom. By introducing Lamela into Southampton’s ranks, Pellegrino would have moved closer to solving that fundamental problem within his first-team squad, so his failure to bring him to St Mary’s could ultimately relegate his side this season.