Sports Mole looks at Southampton's chances for the new Premier League season.
With the new Premier League season beginning this weekend, Sports Mole casts its eye over Southampton's summer and their prospects for the 2013-14 campaign.
Dejan Lovren (Lyon, £8.5m), Victor Wanyama (Celtic, £12.5m)
Ben Reeves (MK Dons, Free), Danny Butterfield (Released), Ryan Dickson (Released), Tommy Forecast (Released), Sam Hoskins (Yeovil Town, Free), Ben Reeves (Released), Frazer Richardson (Released), Dan Seabourne (Released), Alberto Seidi (Released), Steve de Ridder (Released), Frazer Richardson (Middlesbrough, Free)
Last Season: 14th
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Three key players:
© PA Photos
Nathaniel Clyne -
The young defender excelled last season in what was his first Premier League campaign for the Saints. Powerful, athletic and brave, the England Under-21 international is also a very handy presence in attack. Never afraid to burst forward to join his teammates, Clyne is a thoroughly modern full-back. Big things are expected from him this year, and this confident individual is likely to produce the goods once again.
© PA Photos
Victor Wanyama -
A whopping £12.5m was splashed out by the Saints' hierarchy over the summer to land midfielder Victor Wanyama from Celtic. It could well prove to be a stellar bit of business by the club as the Kenyan international possesses an abundance of talent both in defence and attack. Wanyama is the sort of all-round player that is vital for a tough Premier League campaign, and his fitness is sure to put him in good stead from August to May.
© PA Photos
Rickie Lambert -
The 31-year-old striker was a revelation in the Premier League last season, scoring 15 goals thanks to his trademark blend of power and lethal finishing. There were not many defences who were spared a rough afternoon from Lambert as he emerged as one of the country's top dangermen. It is hard to predict whether Lambert can replicate that form during the upcoming campaign, but you would not bet against him making merry in the final third once again.
First game: West Bromwich Albion (A), Complete fixture list
Sports Mole says: Southampton have shouted from the rooftops that they are aiming to qualify for Europe this season. On the face of it that sounds like a fairly audacious dream, but if their new signings can make an impact, and the team as a whole can show some consistency, then they could well be battling away in the top half. However, the Saints continue to look like a club on the edge due to the presence of Nicola Cortese in the boardroom, and a second campaign in the top flight can often be much tougher than the first.
Predicted finish: 17th