Romain Perraud (def) Stade Brest 29; Valentino Livramento (mid) Chelsea; Theo Walcott (att) Everton; Mohamed Elyounoussi (att) Celtic – end of loan
Danny Ings (att) Aston Villa; Angus Gunn (gk) Norwich; Mario Lemina (mid) Nice; Ryan Bertrand (def) – released; Jake Hesketh (mid) – released; Wesley Hoedt (def) Anderlecht; Josh Sims (att) – released; Sam McQueen (def) – released; Takumi Minamino (att) Liverpool – end of loan
A dreadful nine-game winless run after Christmas saw Southampton lose momentum after a fine start to the campaign. Hassenhuttl’s side managed to stay out of trouble thanks to their very good form in the first 17 rounds, where they lost just four games, to finish 15th in the table. Southampton also reached the FA Cup semi-final, where they narrowly lost 1-0 to subsequent winners Leicester City.
Last season’s top scorer with 12 goals, Danny Ings, departed to join Aston Villa, while Ryan Bertrand, Josh Sims and Angus Gunn also left this summer. Southampton filled in Bertrand’s void by signing former France U21 international Romain Perraud, with wonderkid Valentino Livramento joining from Chelsea and Theo Walcott returning on a free transfer. Following Ings’ departure, Southampton will expect Che Adams to step up and improve his goal-scoring tally next season, as he netted just nine times in 2020/21.
Coach Hasenhuttl is committed to his counter-pressing style of football, which is their main strength against strong opponents. However, Southampton demonstrated some defensive frailties last season, when they conceded nine goals twice.
Captain Ward-Prowse will have key role in midfield again, while knowing Hasenhuttl, he is expected to promote and work with more young talents.
The Saints’ main weakness is at the back and they should strengthen their defence, but also sign another striker to replace Ings and keep hold on Ward-Prowse, who has attracted interest from several clubs recently.
Southampton’s realistic objective is a top-half finish. After a season with many highs and lows, the Saints need more consistency and they can try to better last season’s FA Cup run by reaching the final.