If Southampton are going to settle for anything other than mediocrity this season, Ronald Koeman must look to strengthen his squad. First priority for the Saints must be keeping hold of stars Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama, but adding quality in a few positions could give them a chance of qualifying for Europe.
Top of Koeman’s shopping list would have to be a striker. Southampton have struggled to find the net. Only four sides have had more shots this season than Saints (280), but only three have a lower conversion rate (11.82 shots-per-goal). Graziano Pelle is nursing an injury and is suffering a drop in form, with Shane Long the only back up. Jay Rodriguez can play up front, but he is also out until February, whilst Koeman does not seem to fancy young Ryan Seager, who has been prolific for the Under 21s. Charlie Austin would seem a perfect fit, as he is both clinical and physical. Austin has Premier League experience, however the price tag of £10-15 million may put the Saints off. A different option would be Patrick Bamford, after he cut short his loan spell at Palace. Bamford was prolific at Championship level last season and could be the goalscorer that Southampton need to rise up the table.
A right back will also be high on Koeman’s priority list. The Dutchman doesn’t seem to fully trust summer signing Cedric defensively, but Cuco Martina, despite his wondergoal against Arsenal, and Maya Yoshida have been unreliable when deputising. Leeds’ Sam Byram would seem a great buy, and with the 22 year old out of contract at the end of the season would be available on the cheap. He has shone both at right back and right midfield for Leeds, and would be available for around £5 million, but this is likely to create a lot of Premier League interest. A loan option for Saints would be academy product Calum Chambers, who has found his chances limited with the form of Arsenal’s back four this season.
The final position that Ronald Koeman could look to strengthen is in attacking midfield. Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mane have gone slightly off the boil, and neither Steven Davis and James Ward-Prowse have not been contributing enough going forward. Koeman doesn’t seem to have too much faith in the young summer signing Juanmi and the enigmatic Gaston Ramirez seems to be set to leave the club. Winger Andros Townsend has long been linked with Southampton, but fortunately Koeman seems to not be interested in him. Kevin Mirallas is said to be looking for a move away from Everton in search of first team football. Mirallas would add directness and goals to Saints’ attack, both of which are much needed. Koeman has also been linked with the young Ajax winger Anwar El Ghazi. The Dutchman made his senior début for the national team earlier this season, and has also been linked with Manchester United, Liverpool and Stoke.