Southampton’s summer transfer business was quieter than what was initially expected.
Following such an underwhelming season in an attacking sense, the general consensus is that Saints would aim to strengthen their firepower in the summer ahead of what promised to be an important season.
However, they signed three players over the course of the window, with not one attacking player added to the ranks. This, coinciding with the sale of Jay Rodriguez and the temporary offloading of Sam Gallagher, angered sections of the Saints fan-base.
Despite this though, the new faces that have come in have mainly made a positive impression.
As we take a break from Premier League football with the international break upon us once more, we’ve had a little look at how Saints’ summer additions have performed since signing, and have given them marks out of 10 based on their impact so far.
Jan Bednarek – 5
Bednarek has made just one senior appearance for Saints since arriving, but it wasn’t pretty at all.
The Poland international was given the runaround by Wolves’ second string attack in the Carabao Cup second round clash and had a nightmare debut for Saints.
He flattered to deceive in pre-season following his £5m move from Lech Poznan and is evidently not ready to tackle senior football in the Premier League just yet.
Bednarek is a regular with the Saints Under-23 side but somewhat unsurprisingly, has looked rather ordinary.
The signing of Bednarek was a strange one. Saints’ scouting team are undoubtedly highly-skilled but it’s tricky to see what the youngster offers at this stage, with his pace and defensive positioning leaving a lot to be desired.
Bednarek’s arrival has simply put another body in front of the young defenders in Saints’ academy who are looking to force their way through the ever-closing pathway into the first-team.
At this stage, it doesn’t look as though it was a worthwhile signing. But we’ll see – Bednarek is a young player in a new environment.
Mario Lemina – 10
How can it not be a 10/10 for Lemina?
The Gabon international has been nothing short of exceptional since arriving from Juventus for a fee that could rise up to be a club-record in the summer.
Although he was pricey by the club’s standards, especially given his stuttering form with Serie A champions Juve, Lemina is truly looking like one of the best signings of the summer, and a real bargain for Saints.
Lemina has brought a different dimension to Saints’ midfield. He is powerful, skilful and devastatingly effective, and has barely put a foot wrong since signing.
The Saints fans have taken to Lemina in instant fashion, and have hailed his combative, full-blooded style of play alongside the ever-reliable Oriol Romeu.
Lemina is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, and his absence has been noticeable. Hopefully, he’s back for the Liverpool clash after the international break.
He’s been Saints’ player of the season. Full marks from me.
Wesley Hoedt – 8
Hoedt finds himself in a confusing and incredibly frustrating predicament at St Mary’s.
The Dutchman signed from Lazio for a fee in the region of £15m in August, with the expectation of securing first-team football on a regular basis – something he was not presented with under Simone Inzaghi last term.
Hoedt has only been used sporadically by manager Mauricio Pellegrino, though, and has been rotated with Maya Yoshida in large parts.
When he has played, Hoedt has been solid. He has displayed physical prowess and has also demonstrated a quite impeccable range of passing from his left foot.
The issue has been more with Pellegrino, than with Hoedt. Bar one mistake against Manchester United, he has been faultless, yet he has been selected in rather peculiar fashion.
Hoedt, a full Netherlands international, is undoubtedly Saints’ second-best centre-back behind his compatriot Virgil van Dijk and should be partnering his fellow countryman on a more consistent basis.
Regardless of his sporadic involvement so far, it’s an 8/10 from me. Hoedt is a good signing for Saints and has already shown his quality.