Southampton supporters have been drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern in the last few days after seeing their side slip back into the Premier League’s bottom three courtesy of a 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men went into their clash with the Champions League chasing Reds off the back of beating West Brom 3-2 in their preceding league encounter, a result which moved them up to 15th in the division ahead of last weekend’s fixtures. Yet the Saints fell back into the relegation zone courtesy of wins for Swansea City, Huddersfield Town, and Newcastle United ahead of their kick-off at St Mary’s, and weren’t able to get themselves out of it as goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah sealed a routine win for Jurgen Klopp’s side on the South Coast.
Thus, there have been many frustrated and angry Saints fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are genuinely concerned that their team’s six-season stay in the top-flight could be coming to an end this term.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Southampton supporters to get their teeth into, not least Monday evening’s 3-0 win for Chelsea over fellow Premier League strugglers West Brom at Stamford Bridge.
But it was the injury sustained to striker Daniel Sturridge, who of course was linked with the Saints during the January window, which was of most intrigue to Southampton fans, what with it becoming clearer by the day that failure to land the forward last month has actually enhanced their survival chances.
Ultimately, injuries follow the 28-year-old wherever he goes, and it would have been a huge risk for Southampton to take to pay the loan fee and indeed the hefty wages to lure the England international to St Mary’s for the second half of the campaign.
Alan Pardew’s West Brom were willing to do so given their current plight at the bottom, but it’s a decision which has so far backfired given that Sturridge has yet to net for the Baggies, and now looks set for a few weeks on the sidelines.
And while a few weeks doesn’t sound too bad, especially given West Brom’s next league game is not until February 24, the 28-year-old often suffers some sort of setback in his recovery process – ultimately, a few weeks seems hugely optimistic.
As such, Pellegrino’s Southampton will surely feel vindicated by their decision to pull out of a possible move for Sturridge. Yes, he is an extremely prolific goal-scorer at Premier League level, but he is too injury-prone and unreliable to place too great an emphasis on to keep one in the division – he hasn’t scored for the Baggies yet, and they now find themselves seven points adrift of safety.
So while the Saints were somewhat criticised for only bringing Guido Carrillo to the club during January, they haven’t put all their eggs on one basket in the same way West Brom have.
In Austin, Carrillo, Manolo Gabbiadini, and Shane Long, as well as a whole host of other attackers, there should be enough goals in that team to keep them in the division should they play to the best of their abilities.
So while some Saints fans were frustrated at their side for not landing the £18 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt), failure to do so may have actually enhanced their Premier League survival chances.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!