Predicted Position of Guardian Writers: 17th (NB: this is not necessarily Michael Butler’s prediction but the average of our editors’ predictions)
Ranking last season: 15th
Odds of winning the league (via Oddschecker): 500-1
When Southampton are good, they are a team in the first half of the Premier League. And when they’re bad, they’re relegation-grade fodder. Since Ralph Hasenhüttl launched in late 2018, the problem is that you never know which version you’re going to get. Sadly, that’s about the most exciting part of being a Southampton fan right now.
After failing to replace Danny Ings at the start of last season, Southampton took 10 matches to win their opener and finished the campaign on a worse goal difference (-24) than relegated Burnley, with only a prosperous period in February keeping the club. above the drop zone.
Transfers have been finicky for a while – the idea of Saints having a good enough player to sell to Liverpool these days seems a bit far-fetched. This summer’s transfer policy of paying over £23m for Manchester City’s academy players seems a bit dicey until you remember the success of Tino Livramento and Armando Broja ( from Chelsea) last season. If Southampton does one thing well, it’s scouting a good youngster. It’s the rest of the recruiting you need to worry about.
It all depends on the fitness and form of captain James Ward-Prowse – top scorer (11 goals) and chief creator (eight assists) last year – as well as his ability to find a goalscorer. Broja returned to Chelsea, Che Adams had a mixed spell while Adam Armstrong failed to fill Danny Ings’ shoes after the latter left for Aston Villa a year ago.