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Southampton

Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
Read
 By Chris Rann

Transfer Talk: Southampton's summer so far

After the sales of some big names, Ronald Koeman will have the opportunity to mold Southampton as he sees fit.

With the transfer window in full swing, ESPN FC's Southampton blogger, Chris Rann, discusses how Ronald Koeman's side are shaping up ahead of the new season.

IN -- Dusan Tadic (FC Twente, 10 million pounds), Graziano Pelle (Feyenoord, 8 million pounds).

OUT -- Guly do Prado (released), Rickie Lambert (Liverpool, 4 million pounds), Luke Shaw (Manchester United, 27 million pounds), Adam Lallana (Liverpool, 25 million pounds).

Expected budget

It sounds crazy for a club such as Saints, but with talk of Koeman being given a 30-million-pound transfer kitty and any money from player sales, there could be a substantial figure available, perhaps close to 100 million pounds. This takes into account the expected sales of a few other key players.

Liverpool-bound Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana will leave big holes for Saints to fill in 2014-15.

Rate your business so far

6/10. In terms of player sales, Saints have clearly lost some pretty important players, and that is bound to have an impact. Having said that, the fees they brought in for the likes of Shaw and Lallana are not to be scoffed at, and in comparison to some of the other transfers this summer, those two look to be very good business indeed.

With regard to purchases, Saints have brought in two very good players for comparatively low fees. Dusan Tadic was widely regarded as the best player in the Eredivisie last season. The Serbian international created more chances than anyone else in Europe in the most recent campaign and will be seen as a direct replacement for Lallana.

Graziano Pelle was brought in to replace Lambert's presence up front. The Italian scored 55 goals in 66 games for Feyenoord under Koeman and netted after just five minutes of his Saints debut. Expect several more new faces at St Mary's over the coming weeks.

Dusan Tadic arrives as one of the Eredivisie's best playmakers, but replacing Adam Lallana will be a tall order.

Who should be sold?

Saints should be wary of selling anyone, especially until more incoming transfers are completed. With Dejan Lovren sulking and Morgan Schneiderlin likely to be the subject of interest soon, the club could be about to lose two more of the past season's star performers.

However, there are still a few players contracted to the club who don't have much of a future in red and white stripes. Billy Sharp is still a Saints player, but despite Koeman's including him in the preseason regimen, it seems unlikely he will feature in the Premier League. The same could be said of Emmanuel Mayuka and Jos Hooiveld. Should another goalkeeper be brought in, it might spell the end of the road for Paulo Gazzaniga, who proved a less-than-able deputy to Artur Boruc when called upon in the past season.

Who should be signed?

Since Koeman replaced Mauricio Pochettino as first-team manager at St Mary's, everyone who is Dutch, has played in the Netherlands or has been to Amsterdam on a long weekend has been linked to Saints. With talk of six or seven more players coming in and the rumoured impending departures of Lovren and Schneiderlin, the club are effectively in the market for every single position.

Morgan Schneiderlin's name has been linked to numerous clubs, though Saints would be reluctant to allow him to leave without a replacement lined up.

It is widely expected that a goalkeeper will join, with both Celtic's Fraser Forster and Cardiff City's David Marshall strongly linked. A left-back to replace Luke Shaw might be likely, but the excitement surrounding Matt Targett and Southampton's policy of giving youth a chance might see that one covered.

Centre-back, however, is a key weak point, and that is the case, should Lovren leave or not. Stefan de Vrij and Ron Vlaar have both had their names associated with a move to the south coast.

Problem solving: What do you need?

Considering Koeman's favouring a 4-3-3 formation, Jay Rodriguez's injury layoff, Lallana's departure and the sole addition of Tadic, it would seem the club is lacking attacking players who can operate in the front three.

Saints fan Danny Ings had an impressive season in Burnley's promotion last year and could easily slot into any of the forward three positions. With just a year left on his contract at Turf Moor, the Lancashire outfit could be tempted to cash in, and though he might represent a gamble, he is young enough to be nurtured and could follow Jay Rodriguez in his level of improvement.

Chris Rann

Chris Rann is a football-obsessed Southampton fan who runs the blog georgeweahscousin, which made the four-site shortlist for the 2012 football blogging awards. He has also written for many leading sites and magazines. Follow him on Twitter @crstig.