In Depth

Southampton prosper without Shaw, Lallana and stars of 2014

How are the players who deserted second-placed Southampton getting on with their new clubs?

Luke Shaw

Southampton sit in second place in the Premier League this week after victory over Stoke on Saturday lifted them above Manchester City, and for the second successive season the Saints are defying the predictions of those who thought they would struggle.

A year ago, after nine games of the season, Southampton were fifth in the Premier League with 18 points. They had just drawn with Man United at Old Trafford and Mauricio Pochettino's team was being hailed as the "real deal".

In the end they could not sustain a top four challenge and the side ended up finishing a creditable eighth in the Premier League. But it appeared that success would be a double-edged sword for the Saints, as bigger clubs ransacked St Mary's over the summer.

With the manager and best players gone Southampton were earmarked as relegation candidates.

But Ronald Koeman's skillfully assembled side is outperforming last year's vintage and the players who left may be regretting their decisions.

Mauricio Pochettino:

While Ronald Koeman is enjoying life at the top of the table, his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino has every reason to avoid the company of trigger-happy Spurs chairman Daniel Levy after losing three of his first five games at White Hart Lane. Another defeat on Sunday, to lowly Newcastle, leaves Spurs struggling down in 11th place. Levy is under pressure to give his latest manager more time than other Spurs managers have been afforded, but Pochettino's new club lie eight points behind his old one.

Lallana, Lambert, Lovren:

It was Liverpool who declared open season on Southampton in the summer, swooping for three of their best players. Veteran striker Lambert was first to go, and he was soon followed by playmaker Lallana, the club captain, and less than a month later defender Lovren joined the exodus. Liverpool paid a total of £49m for the three players, representing a tidy profit of £38m for Southampton.

None of the players have enjoyed the best of starts on Merseyside. Lambert's travails at Liverpool have been overshadowed by those of Mario Balotelli, but the England striker has yet to play a full 90 minutes for the Reds and has no goals in ten appearances. Lallana has been hampered by injury since joining Liverpool, and he has managed one goal in ten games.

Lovren, who was signed to bring some steel to Liverpool's defence has seen his side concede 12 league goals so far this season. Liverpool's clean sheet against Hull on Saturday was only their second of the season. Southampton, meanwhile, have the best defence in the division and have conceded only five goals.

Luke Shaw:

Perhaps the most high-profile departure of the summer was that of defender Shaw who became the most expensive teenager in history when he joined Manchester United. The summer started well for the 19-year-old who was included in England's World Cup squad, but from that point on things started going wrong.

Shaw got a run-out in England's dire 0-0 draw with Costa Rica before flying home with the rest of the squad. But United manager Louis van Gaal then declared himself unhappy with Shaw's fitness and went on to sign several other left-sided defenders.

To make matters worse the teenager was ruled out until the end of September, but he has now established himself in the United back four, although he has not had quite the impact many had predicted.

Calum Chambers:

Arsene Wenger was praised for pulling off a transfer coup after signing teenage full-back Chambers for £16m in the summer and then unveiling him as a classy centre-back. However, as one of only six senior defenders at the Emirates it has been a tough introduction for the 19-year-old who has been forced to play across the back four this season, while Arsenal have shipped more than twice as many goals as the Saints.

His departure has also established Nathaniel Clyne as Southampton's first-choice right back. Clyne has been mightily impressive for the Saints this season and he could well leapfrog Chambers in the England pecking order.

Recommended

Man Utd have ‘no identity, no clue and no chance’ under Solskjaer
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
View from the terraces

Man Utd have ‘no identity, no clue and no chance’ under Solskjaer

Newcastle’s first battle is to avoid relegation
Newcastle’s new chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and part-owner Amanda Staveley
View from the terraces

Newcastle’s first battle is to avoid relegation

Mo Salah: is Liverpool’s ‘genius’ now the best player in Europe?
Liverpool and Egypt striker Mohamed Salah
View from the terraces

Mo Salah: is Liverpool’s ‘genius’ now the best player in Europe?

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs
Pin badges showing face of Cristiano Ronaldo
Expert’s view

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs

Popular articles

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Hidden Assets BBC
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

Is Bosnia on the brink of another civil war?
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik
In Depth

Is Bosnia on the brink of another civil war?

Djokovic vs. Nadal vs. Federer: career records and grand slams
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have all won 20 grand slam singles titles
Profile

Djokovic vs. Nadal vs. Federer: career records and grand slams

The Week Footer Banner