Five players Southampton should sign

Sports Mole identifies five players that would bolster the playing squad at Southampton.

Despite the uncertainty that comes with a change in management, Southampton never looked to be in any real danger during their return to the Premier League last season.

Their style of football under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino, who replaced Nigel Adkins in January, was lauded by pundits, journalists and supporters alike.

The task now is to build upon that and establish themselves in the top flight. Dejan Lovren has already been recruited, but Pochettino is expected to do plenty more business before the summer is out.

So, with that in mind, Sports Mole has selected five players that we feel would help the Saints push on from their recent positive work.

Costel Pantilimon, Manchester City

To be fair to Artur Boruc, after he had been given the gloves on a permanent basis in January the Polish goalkeeper did a decent job. Having said that, the 33-year-old always gave off the impression that a mistake wasn't too far away.

He may have been handed a fresh two-year deal, but reports have claimed that Pochettino is eager to add another keeper to his ranks, which in turn could spell the end of Kelvin Davies's time at the club.

Standing at 6'8", you'd do well to miss Pantilimon. His height means that from corners and lofted free kicks into the box, there is often only one winner. That in turn eases the pressure on his team.

He's been the number two to Joe Hart ever since he joined City and will have been hurt after he was dropped for this year's FA Cup final, even though he had played in all the previous rounds.

It's unlikely that the 26-year-old would command a big fee and in return the Saints would be getting a keeper who provides a big presence inside the area.

Costel Pantilimon© PA Photos

Jonny Heitinga, Everton

While Lovren arrives with some glowing references, he is untried in the Premier League. All being well the move will work out, but as we've seen so often, it can take players from abroad some time to settle and find their feet in England.

The rumour mill has claimed though that the Southampton boss would still like another defender, despite capturing Lovren.

Someone that knows the Premier League well and could be available for a relatively small fee is Heitinga, who has just 12 months left to run on his deal at Goodison Park.

He may not be the best footballer, but the 29-year-old is a solid defender who will keep the game simple. There is also the added bonus that he can play in the holding midfield role if required.

The Dutchman also has a vast experience at international level, having played in the World Cup for his country.

Johnny Heitinga© PA Photos

Ever Banega, Valencia

Pochettino made his intentions known by pursuing Celtic's Victor Wanyama. He wants an athletic midfielder to play in alongside Morgan Schneiderlin, which would give the likes of Gaston Ramirez and skipper Adam Lallana more freedom in the final third of the pitch.

It won't be Wanyama, though, because the Kenyan was not happy with the terms that he was offered. Nothing to do with the fact that Cardiff City are probably prepared to pay him more, obviously.

In terms of transfer fee, because of Valencia's financial plight Banega would be cheaper. Add to that the fact that the Argentine has proven himself in a much stronger league than Wanyama and Southampton may have had a lucky escape.

The 24-year-old has had his disciplinary issues, but on the pitch his talent cannot be denied. He is tough in the tackle and has the power to drive beyond two or three players.

As a fellow countryman of Pochettino, it could well be a deal that suits both parties.

Salomon Kalou, Lille

It may come as a surprise to learn that during his six seasons with Chelsea, Kalou scored 60 goals. For someone that was not always an automatic starter, it is a record that is not too shabby at all.

He continued that form in France with Lille last season by netting 15 more times.

He would provide some versatility to the Southampton attack as he can play left, right or through the middle and with blistering pace. The only other player currently on the South Coast with a similar quality is Jason Puncheon, but he is nowhere near as clinical as the Ivorian.

At 27 Kalou is now entering his peak years as a footballer and while he is thought to be happy in Ligue 1, the chance to be a regular starter across the Channel may prove too tempting to reject.

Demba Ba, Chelsea

Few strikers have come up from the Championship and imposed themselves on the Premier League in the way that Rickie Lambert did last term. Not only did he display a physical side, but he also showed that he is capable of scoring all types of goal.

He was often partnered by Jay Rodriguez and while he may not have been as clinical, the former Burnley player was also a useful member of the team.

However, after those two, the options are limited. What's more, Lambert and Rodriguez cannot be guaranteed to perform at such a high level on a consistent basis next year, which means a fresh face is needed.

Demba Ba may have only joined Chelsea in January, but speculation has suggested that the returning Jose Mourinho will listen to offers for the frontman.

The 28-year-old is different to Southampton's current striking duo in that he has tall frame, but can also call upon some decent acceleration and quick feet. It could be argued that he is like Lambert and Rodriguez rolled into one player.

Southampton will remember only too well the trouble that he caused them in the FA Cup last season when he scored two goals on his Chelsea debut.

Chelsea striker Demba Ba scores against Man Utd on April 1, 2013© AP Photos

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Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino on the touchline during the match against Chelsea on March 30, 2013
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