Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has been explaining why the important summer transfer window will be a challenging one for the club.
Significant squad depth needs to be added during this off-season to give the Saints boss the best chance to maintain a high level of performance from his side throughout a campaign, rather than results changing drastically midway through as they have during 2020/21.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saints facing Liverpool, he said:
"“When you ask for an interesting player, it very often starts with £20m and we are not able to pay this money at the moment. It is how it is. We have to pick a few players who have, maybe, a chance to become really good players and they must fit perfectly to us.”"
Southampton challenges become clear as we push towards transfer window
Saints have a set way of working now that ensures they do not overspend on players and jeopardise future planning.
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Players they sign are often in the £10m-£15m bracket and they have to make sure they see a player’s potential before any other club does. The hope is that they then reach their full potential at St Mary’s and are eventually worth two or three times the figure originally paid.
What this means is that their targets are young and largely inexperienced. The likes of Mohammed Salisu and Ibrahima Diallo have taken to Premier League football superbly well, but a team cannot be made up entirely like this.
Saints have situations to sort with Danny Ings, Jannik Vestergaard and Ryan Bertrand, but players like this will be invaluable in the coming years.
If Ings is to leave this summer, James Ward-Prowse will become the key man as captain and will play a crucial role in gelling new players to new teammates. His level of experience has to be put alongside young talent if things are to go smoothly.
Add Stuart Armstrong, Oriol Romeu, Theo Walcott and Nathan Redmond to this and a nice blend of that experience and youth emerges, but contract issues with Ings, Vestergaard and Bertrand will be as crucial as signings this summer.