Southampton are currently joint-second for the least amount of goals scored in the Premier League, this season, with a miserable 19 strikes to the Saints’ name. And, although it would seem the Saints are going ‘ok’ in the league, it is only due to the brilliance of Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte.
Following the latter’s transfer request, and just about every club outside the South Coast after van Dijk, it’s concerning that Southampton may not be able to compensate for a lack of goals with clean sheets, for much longer. They need a decent forward as an absolute January priority, otherwise their three defeats on the bounce could continue to get a lot worse.
The problem stems from Shane Long being possibly one of the luckiest men going in football, somehow earning a living in top flight due to having decent enough pace. However, aside from that, the Irishman could literally not finish his dinner – 16 strikes in 75 Premier League games, to date, for Southampton says that more than anything.
Although England’s most famous brickie, Charlie Austin, was on top form and replicating his QPR days early on in the season, the striker still faces a few months on the sidelines. And then that leaves us with Jay Rodgiruez, who sounds more Mediterranean rather than from the depths of North East, England. J-Rod still just about fits into every English stereotype: put a few good games together, hype gets out of control, until we all realise that he’s better off going back to Barnsley on loan.
So how does Claude Puel solve the issue? Long shot for an unpopular former Manchester United player? Or, perhaps a more respectable bid for Jermain Defoe, just to wind up them Hammers a bit more.
West Ham offering £6 million for Defoe – reminds me of the time I offered my neighbour £12 for his house.
— Jon Barbuti (@jonbarbuti) January 5, 2017
Both of these seem unrealistic, but what could prove to be a very good – and obtainable – move for the Saints, is pinching Stevan Jovetic of Inter Milan. The former Manchester City man is out of favour, and has only featured four times in the league this season.
“If we talk about Inter, I have to say that I am not satisfied.”
“I worked well, was ready to play, but I was never given a chance. I don’t know why, it’s not an issue with me, as my performances with Montenegro prove I was in good shape.”
Why not make an effort to secure the services of the 27-year-old? After all, he was brilliant at Fiorentina, and we all know the striker is perfectly capable after showing moments of magic when at the Etihad. The Montenegro international just wasn’t given enough chances, and if he was to get a run of games, he could quite easily become the main man as he was at La Viola. We’ve all seen how inventive Jovetic can be…
— Razk0 (@Okyr07) July 24, 2016
Inter signed the Montenegro forward for €2.5 million on a 18-month loan contract; so the finances should not appear too daunting for the Saints. And surely the South Coast outfit have their own separate fund account being pumped by Merseyside, which could afford just about anybody – ironically, with bags of pace, and creativity, the combination of Dušan Tadić and Nathan Redmond playing alongside Jovetic seems an exciting attacking trio; almost similar to Liverpool’s system of playing false nines.
The improvement Jovetic could add to the creativity is demonstrated by the distinct lack of chances Long and Rodriguez have contributed this season. Even though they have had half the amount of game time compared to Tadic and Redmond, the pair have nowhere near a good enough goal scoring record to suggest their limited creativity input warrants any more games than they already have. Both Tadic and Redmond deserve a more clinical player, and although positive signs of James Ward-Prowse are encouraging; they are not developed enough to suggest Saints can be a top side this season.
The introduction of Jovetic could allow far greater fluidity in between the lines, and on their day, the combination of the three could be very hard to defend. Sign the Montenegro man, and the Saints can actually start to push on, rather than relying on their defence throughout the whole season.