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How to watch, summer transfers & league prediction

Southampton have taken a new approach to the transfer market this summer, buying a handful of exciting young talents in the hope of watching them explode into superstars in the coming years.

It’s a welcome shift from the previous model which has yielded some increasingly underwhelming results, although the risk that comes with giving such significance to young players needs no explaining.

Whatever the result, it promises to be a rollercoaster of a season for Southampton. Here’s all you need to know about the Saints.

Clearly bolstered by the immediate impact made by Tino Livramento last season before his nasty injury, Southampton have gone young this summer. They’ve plucked Gavin Bazunu and Romeo Lavia from the Manchester City academy, as well as striking deals for 19-year-old forward Sekou Mara and 20-year-old defender Armel Bella-Kotchap. Midfielder Joe Aribo has also joined from Rangers.

In the exit column, the departures of Fraser Forster and Shane Long have contributed to a massive drop in the average age of this Saints squad.

Ins

Outs

Numbers subject to change before end of transfer window

1) Alex McCarthy
2) Kyle Walker-Peters
4) Lyanco
5) Jack Stephens
6) Oriol Romeu
7) Joe Aribo
8) James Ward-Prowse
9) Adam Armstrong
10) Che Adams
11) Nathan Redmond
13) Willy Caballero
15) Romain Perraud
17) Stuart Armstrong
19) Moussa Djenepo
21) Tino Livramento
22) Mohammed Salisu
23) Nathan Tella
24) Mohamed Elyounoussi
27) Ibrahima Diallo
30) Mateusz Lis
31) Gavin Bazunu
32) Theo Walcott
35) Jan Bednarek
37) Armel Bella-Kotchap
38) Dynel Simeu
43) Yan Valery
45) Romeo Lavia

Star player

Anyone with even a casual interest in Southampton will know that their season will rely on the form of club captain James Ward-Prowse.

The midfielder continued to push his case for being the best free-kick taker in Premier League history last year, and his return of ten goals is the highest he has ever managed in his top-flight career.

One to watch

It’s impossible to pick one here as nearly all of Southampton’s new signings promise to be fascinating viewing this year.

At the back, Bazunu is a top prospect in goal and Bella-Kotchap has earned rave reviews as a destructive force at the back, while further forward, Lavia has dominated in youth football and Mara had some scouts believing he could be a brighter prospect that Paris Saint-Germain’s new signing Hugo Ekitike.

It would be no surprise if Aribo outshines them across their debut campaign, owing to his experience at a high level, but the younger quartet all have signing-of-the-season potential if they can break out like Southampton hope.

Home kit

Moussa Djenepo

Robin Jones/GettyImages

Away kit

Armel Bella-Kotchap

Steve Bardens/GettyImages

Third kit

While the potential for the Saints to explode this season is there, the reality is that bringing in so many young players with limited top-flight experience is a massive risk for a side in Southampton’s precarious position.

It’s absolutely a step in the right direction for the club, but rebuilding an ageing squad takes time and it would perhaps be wise for fans to temper their expectations in the short term.

It might be a tricky year for Southampton, but if they can stay afloat, the next few years could be a whole lot of fun.

Southampton Premier League prediction – 16th

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