Southampton: At least give them time to re-invest the revenue 4

So many memes, so very many memes.

Southampton have spent their Summer selling off most of their first-team squad and, as a result, have been the object of much internet ‘banter’.

While the club’s fanbase are understandably disheartened, isn’t it right to hold the doom prophecies until after Ronald Koeman has actually had a chance to spend some of this revenue?

An overlooked reality from the past few months has been that, in every sale the club has sanctioned, Southampton have received offers which were almost impossible to turn down.  Whilst I appreciate that the game is not just about money, margins and bottom lines, all of the players who have departed have been over-sold and - with the possible exception of Rickie Lambert - it would not have made financial sense to keep any of them.

It’s easy for fans of top-four clubs to sneer, but players sales are just an ugly fact of football life for teams who do not play consistent Champions League football.  If a team performs well, the individuals within it will be picked off by the vultures and that side will have to re-stock - and it’s worth remembering that it’s not always possible to receive value for what’s being taken.

Contracts get run-down, players try to force sales, agents become increasingly involved and get progressively more difficult - while it may not feel this way at the moment, Southampton have actually had a very good Summer.  Five of their players have wanted to leave and one-time opportunity fees have been received for four of them.

That is the very definition of making the most out of a bad situation.  And what did anybody expect - Southampton to break a trend that even the more established clubs above them fall victim to year-on-year?

There’s no need to rush to judgement and print alarmist forecasts about relegation, because Southampton are just enduring a situation that every non-elite Premier League side has to go through.  Selling players is not a symptom of failure and it’s really no basis for judging a team - instead, the way to assess what’s happening at Southampton is to watch what happens next: how will the revenue be spent?  What will they get in return?

It’s easy to rely on cliches to predict the club’s trajectory and I’m sure it’s tempting to assume that Southampton will struggle because of this player turnover, but there no sound basis for saying that yet.  If this money is squandered and it’s used on dud, ill-fitting talent, then this transfer-window may well be remembered as the start of downturn.  If it’s not, though, and a Premier League side can be re-assembled with nearly £80m - which it absolutely should be - then Summer 2014 need be nothing more than a speed bump.

Let’s hold the judgement until the window closes, because this is still an incomplete process.

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