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Colinjb

Worst Case Scenario

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Oh the media, where there is a story to be told (or even contrived) they will do so. After such a wonderful season can anyone be surprised that a lot of our stars are being linked away? With stories intensifying regarding Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw in particular the future appears uncertain, how will our team look next season if the worst case scenario unfolds? For the sake of this I am going to assume the following:

1) Even if Mauricio Pochettino goes to Tottenham our tactics will remain essentially the same. Thank Les Reed for this.
2) All players who have been linked with a move away will go, list to follow.
3) Any transfer fees received will need to plug a £25m hole from previous transfer activity.

So, out of the departures, who do we have?

Adam Lallana

Our captain, born and bred (after his move from Bournemouth when he was but a pup.) He is firmly linked to a move to Liverpool. Thanks to Bournemouth's prudence a 25% sell on fee is applicable for any move away, therefore of a stated £20m transfer fee 'only' £15m go into our piggy bank.

Luke Shaw

Supposedly Manchester United bound. £30m has been quoted for our Chelsea supporting academy graduate. A split of £10m per season for three years has been stated in some less then credible sources, so, as per the 'worst case' scenario philosophy that is what we shall take for now.

Morgan Schneiderlin

He hasn't exactly dismissed speculation over a move but equally said that it's not his decision. A move to Arsenal has been mooted in some quarters (as it has ever since he joined us six years ago) and on the basis that he is now being noticed by France's international setup by being on the reserve list for their world cup squad, a round £10m here will do.

Dejan Lovren

Despite being about the same amount we paid for him, Liverpool have supposedly offered 8m for our Croatian International star centre back. He said he is happy here but we know the rules... Ker-ching!

Callum Chambers

Young? Check. English? Yep. Sotonian Youth Team Graduate? Absolutely. No surprises that Arsene Wenger is sniffing around another one of our kids. Looking to make it a hat-trick of signings from us a fee of £10m has been touted for our 1.5th choice right-back.

Gaston Ramirez and Dani Osvaldo

Two of our most expensive imports, however, neither are attracting much attention. Rumours are that Gaston wants away yet no definitive smoke has been sighted. Dani Osvaldo appears to be in limbo too having managed to underwhelm for Serie A winner Juventus and playing his way out of the Italian World Cup squad. A reunion with us is unlikely, but considering the destabilising effect it would have and this being about the worst happening...... Okay, okay. He can go on loan to Fiorentina.

On the basis of these how does our team look for next season?

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Boruc, Clyne, Targett, Fonte, Hooiveld, Wanyama, Cork, S. Davis, Rodriguez, Ramirez, Lambert

Substitutes:

Gazzaniga
Yoshida
Chambers
Reed
Gallagher
Ward-Prowse
Hesketh


Money to spend: £28m.

Well, if our squad depth was suspect before we would certainly be even shallower here. Matt Targett's promotion from the academy to left back despite reservations over his physical maturity would be certainly bold. Nathaniel Clyne becomes the undisputed number one right back which should at least do wonders for his confidence and Hooiveld is placed back into rotation with Maya Yoshida alongside Jose Fonte.

Hesitation over Hooiveld may be allayed by Victor Wanyama's presence in midfield. When he shielded the back four this year we looked a match for anyone in the league defensively, without Lovren we will not be as strong but he should help keep us competitive. Cork and Davis were unsung heroes this year and deserve the chance to stay in our first team (especially as our back-up is Harrison Reed and James Ward-Prowse, both promising but not the full package yet.)

Ramirez' inconsistent presence assists our attacking options alongside the sadly incapable of passing a medical currently Jay Rodriguez and Sir Richard of Lambert.

Naturally that team is not as strong as last season, it misses Lallana's creative presence and trickery, becoming more pedestrian and dependent of Rodriguez' pace, Rickie's intelligence and Wanyama's physicality.

Take even one, or two elements out of this team though and would struggle. Without Rickie we wouldn't be able to hold the ball in the final third. Without Wanyama we risk losing defensive cohesion. An injury to the already vulnerable Matt Targett will necessitate Yoshida going in at left-back a position he simply is not accomplished in. And as for Artur Boruc? Well, we know about Paolo Gazzaniga.

Our first eleven here looks essentially ok, we have sent out worse sides even this year but the £28m available needs to address the need for extra attacking and defensive depth. A versatile full-back, centre back, attacking midfielder and substitute goalkeeper would be needed at a minimum. Just how far can £28m go today? £7m per player.

It's clear that the world wouldn't end should the worst happen, but the need for shrewd leadership to rebuild is obvious. Our situation is delicate but not insurmountable.

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Updated 21-05-2014 at 06:00 PM by Colinjb

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Comments

  1. Bearsy's Avatar
    better sides than that get relegated, ain't it! Have we totally given up on best case scenarios? Ponch signs new contract and uses his influence to persuade lallana, shaw et al to stick around for a year or two, see where this squad can take us. Big Kat finds enough scratch to fund a 2 or 3 low risk signings, drawing a line through Boruc, Cork, Clyne, S.Davis, Rodriguez... maybe a Lovren. May as well throw in a striped kit if we're going crazy.

    I mean could happen, right?
  2. Colinjb's Avatar
    It seems the worst case was not quite as bad as it could have been.