Southampton analysis: Ronald Koeman starts rebuilding job at St Mary's after Dejan Lovren joins Liverpool

As Dejan Lovren becomes the latest star to leave, for Liverpool in a £20m deal, Ronald Koeman needs to strengthen his new Saints squad

As the Southampton exodus continues, with Dejan Lovren becoming the third player to leave for Liverpool and the ninth in total, Ronald Koeman would be forgiven for wondering if he had made a grave mistake in taking the Saints job this summer.

The 51-year-old former Ajax and Barcelona midfielder comes to the Premier League with managerial experience in some of the continent's most competitive leagues but nothing will have prepared him for the current situation threatening to derail his new club's recent renaissance in fortunes.

Having slumped into the third tier of English football, after a 10 point deduction in 2009, Nigel Adkins inspired a remarkable journey which took the Saints to the brink of European football and home of four full England internationals.

Lovren joins Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert in leaving for Anfield while Luke Shaw completed a £30m switch to Manchester United at the beginning of the summer transfer window.

Video: The latest transfer news
Read more: Koeman tweets picture of an empty pitch
Wenger closes in on £11m Calum Chambers
Liverpool back in for Jay Rodriguez

Less noteworthy departures include Danny Fox and Guly do Prado but there is an inescapable feeling that the South Coast club are headed for a relegation scrap this coming season.

Koeman, on the other hand, cuts a composed figure when questioned by the media on the subject and has already completed deals for Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic from Feyenoord and FC Twente respectively.

Graziano Pelle has a fearsome scoring record Pelle comes to the Premier League with an impressive goalscoring record, having netted 55 goals in 66 appearances for Koeman's former club, while Tadic appears to be a like-for-like replacement for £25m Lallana.

The two signings represent the new Saints manager's attraction, promising to build upon the foundations set by his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino. The task is proving to be increasingly problematic, however, with their immediate rivals taking turns to nibble at the spoils.

Read more: Saints offer Rodriguez new contract?
Koeman promises to replace Saints stars
Tadic signs for Southampton

Rumours emanating this weekend suggested that Reds manager Brendan Rodgers may even return with an attempt to sign Jay Rodriguez - the last remaining England star at the club.

As the club spirals into a source of comedy on social media, with even Koeman himself inadvertently taking part by posting a picture on Twitter of an empty training pitch, onlookers are bemused by the ever-escalating headache he is facing.

Many suggest that Southampton had merely hit their glass ceiling, that they wouldn't have been able to break into the Premier League's top six, and that they should consider themselves lucky to have players with such high resale values.

Is the sun coming down on Southampton's period of success? The Saints beat Bournemouth 1-0 on Friday With Calum Chambers also set to complete an £11m move to FA Cup holders Arsenal, it seems that Southampton have missed the train to European success.

Following in the footsteps of other Saints academy products - including Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - to leave for a shot at Champions League football, it must seem like they are destined to forever be a feeder club to the rich.

Even Pochettino, who openly revealed his desire to stay at St. Mary's beforehand, couldn't resist the temptation when Tottenham Hotspur gave him a call.

Koeman's appointment, however, offers the club's supporters hope.

The Dutchman is as talented as he is affable, two qualities which Roberto Martinez has proved can make an excellent Premier League manager, and appears to be one of the few people who could somehow navigate a route out of this situation.

Ronald Koeman is introduced as the new manager at Southampton Discussing his first training session, the new boss spoke of how he had addressed the issue with his new squad.

"They know that's the story in football, players come and go," Koeman said. "The most important message I gave them was that we have to keep the philosophy and the ambition of the club.

"If we lose some players we will bring in players of the same quality or even better quality if that is possible. There is money to spend and to continue the quality and bring new players in."

Luke Shaw left for Manchester United earlier in the summer for a fee in the region of £30m One suspects that the turnstiles which the likes of Shaw and Lallana had left swinging in their wake will shortly close and that Southampton will soon be able to stabilise and do some strengthening of their own.

With an estimated £90m profit this summer, there is scope to add to their squad and even improve upon it. Premier League squads have been picked apart for far less.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific