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 By Alex Crook

Van Dijk saga turns unsavoury but Saints should be lauded for staying firm

Steve Nicol and the ESPN FC crew discuss the transfer furore surrounding Virgil van Dijk.
Steve Nicol and the ESPN FC crew discuss the transfer furore surrounding Virgil van Dijk.

Virgil van Dijk has helped Southampton's new manager Mauricio Pellegrino score an early PR win with the club's fans.

Now their board have to back the Argentine by delivering on their promise to keep Van Dijk at least until the end of the upcoming season and stand up to player power.

By effectively sending van Dijk into exile, Pellegrino has struck a blow not only for Saints but for every so-called smaller Premier League side who are bullied by their more illustrious rivals and egotistical players.

However...

 By Chris Wright

Southampton reach a new level with Taylor's social media announcement

Southampton announced a new one-year contract for Stuart Taylor in the form of a movie trailer.

This summer has truly been the summer of the quirky, elaborate (some might say overelaborate) transfer unveilings, with clubs desperately trying to one-up their rivals while filling out their squads.

So far we've seen new players introduced with phone WhatsApp chats, staged English lessons, white smoke billowing from a takeaway, and even mini club shop sketches to break news of big arrivals and acquisitions.

However, Southampton may have just topped the lot by going meta with a full-on minimovie...

An...

 By Alex Crook

Five things for Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino to sort out first

Steve Nicol believes Mauricio Pellegrino's open, attack-minded style of football will suit Southampton.

Southampton unveiled Mauricio Pellegrino as their third manager in as many seasons on Friday.

Pellegrino, 45, won the race to replace the sacked Claude Puel ahead of Dutch legend Frank de Boer, as Saints chiefs were impressed with how the Argentine guided little Alaves to the Spanish cup final and see similarities with fellow countryman and their former boss Mauricio Pochettino.

But what five things does Pellegrino need to do to ensure he matches Pochettino's success on the south coast?

1. Persuade...

 By Chris Wright

Manolo Gabbiadini has his cake and can't eat it

Southampton striker Manolo Gabbiadini used the off-season to get married to his long-term partner Martina Rubini, with the pair getting hitched in the parish church of Sasso Marconi, Bologna.

As well as the usual flowers and finery, the ceremony also boasted what is quite possibly the biggest wedding cake we've ever seen.

17.06.2017

A post shared by Martina Rubini (@martinarubini) on

Crikey. That's a whole lot of cake!

Gabbiadini is going to have to hit his preseason training regime extra hard if he's going to work that monstrous thing off in time for the start...

 By Chris Wright

Bertrand and Forster star in Southampton's snazzy kit reveal

To help launch their 2017-18 kits, Southampton have created a cartoon series in which a gang of their players help to unveil the new designs.

The mini-series stars Ryan Bertrand, Fraser Forster, Maya Yoshida and Manolo Gabbiadini as a crime-fighting quartet tasked with retrieving the strips after they were stolen by an as-yet unnamed foe.

There's even a little guest cameo from Saints legend Matt Le Tissier to keep an eye out for.

 By Alex Crook

Southampton grew tired of dour Claude Puel and had to act decisively

Claude Puel has been sacked as Southampton manager.

Southampton executive director Les Reed has rightly been applauded for the way he has guided the club out of troubled waters to become one of the Premier League's most upwardly mobile clubs.

After all, there are not many sides who could have recovered from losing two managers of the calibre of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman plus a host of star players and still continue to make forward strides.

But the sacking of Claude Puel after less than a year in charge was a very public admission...