Southampton enjoyed another successful campaign last season as they booked their place in the Europa League for a second season running. Though Southampton were not able to negotiate the playoffs in the Europa League last season, it proved to be a blessing in disguise for the club as they finished in their highest position and putting up their best points tally in the Premier League. However it has been another summer of upheaval at the club with player turnover continuing as Southampton bid their goodbyes to three more key players with Victor Wanyama, Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane sold off. They will also be heading into the campaign with a new coach for a third time since returning to the Premier League after Ronald Koeman switched over to Everton and Claude Puel has been brought in as his replacement. Puel takes over a team that has been punching above its weight in the Premier League over the last few seasons and the Frenchman has big shoes to fill at Stadium of Light. Puel though already has the experience of confounding expectations, with his OGC Nice team twice finishing within touching distance of a Champions League spot in last four seasons in the Ligue 1. However he will find it difficult to repeat that performance in the Premier League, especially with Southampton qualifying directly to the group stages of the Europa League which means that Puel will have to be creative with his squad rotation, and while fans will be hoping for another shot at top four this season, Southampton will do well to finish in the top seven this season. While all of the teams who finished above them last season have spent big, Southampton have had a subdued summer so far with just three first team arrivals in Nathan Redmond, Jeremy Pied and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, while Alex McCarthy has also signed on from Crystal Palace, and more signings are needed if they are to stand any chance of mounting a challenge for the top six this season.
Will do well to finish in European qualification spots once again