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You have to feel for the Southampton fans.

After losing Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham and half of their squad to Liverpool, Ronald Koeman did incredibly during his two years on the south coast, achieving a sixth place finish last season. Then Everton came calling, and the Saints were on the hunt for another manager yet again.

Claude Puel has done okay in his first season in England, and was boosted by his side's EFL Cup semi-final first-leg victory over Liverpool, but there have been rumblings of discontent at St. Mary's in recent weeks.

Three defeats on the bounce in the league have left Southampton 15 points from sixth place and in danger of their season petering out early. Freddie from The Ugly Inside spoke to us about who Puel should target in this window.

Please note that this interview was conducted before the January transfer window opened.

Thoughts on Summer Activity:

Southampton have a methodical process of recruiting players that fit the philosophy of the football club, and the signings of [Nathan] Redmond and [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg were premeditated with a detailed report. Young players that can develop into great talents. Jeremy Pied was very much a Claude Puel signing, a player who had worked with him at Nice and is very much a utility player that has the ability to play anywhere on the wing, from defence to attack. Stuart Taylor was also bought in as a like-for-like replacement for Kelvin Davis, who retired.

Area that Needs Improvement:

Without a doubt a centre forward. Shane Long is yet to score this season. Rodriguez has recently reignited his scoring boots but comes in and out of games, while Charlie Austin is ruled out up to 3 months and has scored pretty much half of all our goals this season. We need a clinical, proven goal scorer to fill the void up front in his absence.

Dream Signing:

Obvious choice would be to bring Gareth Bale home.

Realistic Signing:

We've seen reports that a transfer has been tabled for Marco Gabbiadini recently, an Italian centre forward who could fill the void left by Graziano Pelle. Gabbiadini is tall and can act as the target man which could suit our style of play when the crosses are delivered from deep.

Check out the latest Southampton transfer rumours

Prediction for Rest of 2016-17:

If we do not recruit, at the very minimum, a loan forward we will struggle to compete for Europa League places. It is always going to be tough to replicate last season but we are in a great position at the moment, 10th in table at the time of writing, in the EFL Cup semi-final and many would say we should prioritise the cups as it's our best chance of European football next season.

I expect us to battle in the top half, on the fringes of European places, and to work hard in the cup. My apprehension is how many changes we will see in the cups and every game. Puel needs to decide which is his strongest 11.


Premier League