Southampton's eighth-place finish in the Premier League was a triumph that has been rewarded with a large amount of money. The only problem is that all this money has been given to the club in exchange for many of their best players. And since the players are leaving faster than new ones are coming in, it's beginning to seem likely that the Saints will fashion all the cash that's piling up into the shape of the beloved players that have departed and hope that opponents are too distracted by the money mannequins to score goals against them.
With 19-year-old defender Calum Chambers off to Arsenal, Southampton have now lost five important members of last season's squad — Luke Shaw (off to Man United), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Rickie Lambert (Liverpool) and Chambers. That's in addition to the loss of manager Mauricio Pochettino to Spurs, who is reportedly set to take Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez with him.
Given all this, it's clear why many of new Southampton manager Ronald Koeman's Twitter followers interpreted his picture of an empty training pitch as a dig as the club.
But Southampton haven't just given these players away for nothing. According to the BBC, the proceeds from those five sales totals £92 million — and if Schneiderlin and Rodriguez go, that figure will surely be well over £100 million. These are figures any club would have trouble turning down.
Meanwhile, the only two players who have joined the club are midfielder Dusan Tadic for £10 million and striker Graziano Pelle for £8 million. That leaves plenty of cash left to sign quality replacements, build money people, or buy new identities for club executives planning to run away with it all before the summer transfer window shuts in a little over a month.
Of course, even with a sizable budget, trying to rebuild in a summer something that took years to develop can lead to relegation faster than new heights. And for that reason, you should be patient and understanding if you see any Southampton fans crying like members of the Brazilian national team in the coming weeks.
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