Reports: Southampton edging closer to £11m deal for Norwich’s Nathan Redmond

Reports: Southampton edging closer to £11m deal for Norwich's Nathan Redmond

Following the Canaries’ relegation from the top flight in May, their star winger has been linked with a move to remain in the Premier League – and Southampton appear close to completing the signing of the 22-year-old English international.

Southampton are reportedly close to completing the signing of Norwich City winger Nathan Redmond, for a transfer fee believed to be in the region of £11million pounds. The talented 22-year-old winger, who spent 11 years (three senior) at Birmingham City before a switch to the Canaries followed swiftly at the start of the 2013 summer transfer window.

Since then, he has continued to progress at a steady rate and has established himself as an integral figure in Alex Neil‘s side over the past two seasons. Following their underachieving campaign in the Premier League this past term, it comes as no surprise that other top flight clubs had been linked with a move for Redmond, including newly-promoted side Middlesbrough as well as Stoke City and West Ham to name just a few.

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Southampton’s 2015: An unpredictable twelve months for the Saints

Southampton's 2015: An unpredictable twelve months for the Saints

Despite their ups-and-downs, Ronald Koeman will know there is plenty of improvement to be made to his ever-improving Southampton side.

A comprehensive, impressive 4-0 thrashing over Premier League title challengers Arsenal at St. Mary’s. Yes, you read that correctly. Southampton – who seem to be involved in a never-ending cycle of losing key players, summer after summer, ended their winless run in style in-front of a joyous home crowd on the south coast.

Long celebrates one of his two goals v Arséne Wenger’s travelling Gunners side. | Image: Getty

An emphatic victory to say the least, but the following paragraph typifies the underlying problem which remains within the So’ton side. Fast forward a few days, and they lost again. Away in east London, they conceded two second-half strikes courtesy of Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll – succumbing to a frustrating defeat, having held the lead too.

Somewhat harsh, given the distinct lack of recovery time between the two fixtures. Between full-time after their win over Arsenal, and kick-off against the Hammers, there were approximately 44 hours in total. Insufficient recovery periods, admittedly. But still – all Premier League clubs would have had the same/similar excuses, so why were they unable to cope effectively? Ultimately, it all refers back to a lack of consistency.

A promising start, messy middle to 2015

At the end of 2014, plenty of critics and rival supporters alike were beginning to embrace the distinct possibility that Southampton might actually qualify for the Champions League. They were gelling together perfectly, the likes of Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin were the midfield enforcers – solid defensively, attack-wise, dangerous too. Graziano Pellé and Dušan Tadić were excellent, and frankly a joy to watch. They still are too, but last season was seeming more-and-more likely to be their breakthrough campaign in terms of European qualification.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle were all defeated by the mighty Saints in quick succession, a three-match winning streak in January suggested they would consequently assert their credentials as one of the League’s best sides.

But álas, the argument revolving around consistency. After their 2-1 win at St. James’ Park on 17 January, they only won five more fixtures for the rest of the campaign. An underwhelming five, when compared to the total of 16 that they’d played between January-May.

As opposed to a top four place, they finished in a respectable – but understandably disappointing – seventh place. 60 points, just four off Liverpool in 5th, two off Tottenham in 6th.

When you put it like that, their season seems like a disaster. By no means was it one, but in terms of the potential and quality within their side, their cutting edge was somewhat dull as the campaign proceeded to the business end.

Time for positivity and optimism

That’s, what they’ll be hoping doesn’t happen this time around. After another summer overhaul and the unfortunate Europa League shortcomings at the start of the campaign, they sit in 12th position going into the New Year. Some shrewd acquisitions – including the likes of Cédric, Jordy Clasie and Virgil van Dijk – followed after some inevitable departures, including the likes of Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne.

Currently, Koeman’s side sit seven points away from 5th, seven points above 18th. Just reiterates the unpredictability of this year’s Premier League.

But, as the Saints’ saying goes, they’ll be hoping to march on in 2016 with style.

 

Southampton 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs’ quick-fire double means frustrations continue for Saints

Southampton 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs' quick-fire double means frustrations continue for Saints

It was a hard-fought victory for the visitors, giving Mauricio Pochettino a welcome return to St. Mary’s against an out-of-form Saints side – which was evident.

Southampton‘s winless run extended to six games in all competitions as a quick-fire double between English duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli sealed all three points for the visitors, bouncing back from a disappointing home defeat at the hands of Steve McClaren‘s Newcastle side last time out.

They could have found themselves two-nil down with less than ten minutes on the clock though, as the Saints created a few clear-cut opportunities to break the deadlock.

Mané had two clear-cut chances, no avail

First, Sadio Mané was set through on-goal in the area after a lovely chipped pass toward his path by Steven Davis. The winger shaped to shoot, but centre-back Toby Alderweireld – who spent a season on-loan at Southampton last term – was alert to the danger and got a strong interception behind the drilled effort, sending it behind for a corner-kick.

Then, two minutes later, it could have been two. Dušan Tadić drove down the flank, before unselfishly fizzing a perfectly-weighted pass into Mané’s path on the edge of the area. His well-placed effort was denied by Hugo Lloris though, making an excellent reflex save to keep the scores level.

Harry Kane had a half-chance of his own, which Paulo Gazzaniga did well to get behind, as the 22-year-old fired goalwards from a tight angle with power.

Quick, effective and seemingly comfortable

And it seemed as though it would stay goalless at the interval, but Spurs raced ahead to devastating effect. First, the north Londoners were the beneficiaries of an advantage being played by referee Kevin Friend.

He could have opted to stop play after Jose Fonté clattered into Alli in the build-up, but the visitors’ kept hold of the ball on the counter-attack and Kane’s close-range strike nestled into the far corner past a helpless Gazzaniga.

It wasn’t over yet, though. Southampton’s frustrating tendency to lose the ball in key areas of the pitch was emphasised once more, when possession was squandered in midfield. Within seconds they found themselves on the back foot and, fullback Kyle Walker was allowed space to roam forward from the right-hand side, before swinging a low ball across the face of goal.

It seemed as if the match was being played in slow motion, or something. The way the Southampton defenders collectively seemed, motionless, was as though they were naturally waiting for the linesman’s call for an offside. Alli was allowed the simple task of tucking the delivery away at the far post from close-range, with Gazzaniga not protected effectively by his backline. Marking, poor. Not tight enough, and the hosts had a two-goal deficit to overturn.

Alli tucked home from close-range to double Spurs' lead within minutes(Image: Getty)

Second 45 as telling as the first

As the second-half began, Southampton knew they had a task on their hands. Attacking with both pace and purpose, similarly to the way they began in the opening exchanges, Graziano Pellé created a yard of space for himself – to test Lloris in-between the posts. His snapshot, after good initial work from Mané beforehand, was comfortably held by the French goalkeeper, at a swerving height as the home supporters showed their appreciation for his efforts with a warm round of applause.

Despite all of their shortcomings recently, the fans themselves have refused to give up hope. With the clock continuing to tick down on the affair, Ronald Koeman knew something had to change. A triple substitution – Shane Long, James Ward-Prowse and Juanmi – were all introduced to the fray, replacing Davis, Tadić and Jordy Clasie.

Substitute midfielder Tom Carroll could have wrapped up all three points for the visitors, but his effort inside the area lacked much elevation or power to fully test Gazzaniga, who was able to smother the danger. Ward-Prowse was denied the chance to halve the deficit in stoppage time after another fantastic diving stop from Lloris, stretching to his left, as he kept a well-earned clean sheet.

It just wasn’t Southampton’s day, you could virtually sense that after the first ten minutes. Mané’s two early chances, could have resulted in a two-goal cushion, but instead, they found themselves with a game to chase at the break, which just highlights one of their problems. During this winless run of six fixtures, they’ve only scored three in total – which, considering the chances they create for themselves, simply isn’t good enough. Plenty of room for improvement.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton: Cabaye extends Saints’ winless run

Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton: Cabaye extends Saints' winless run

A first-half strike from summer signing Yohan Cabaye was enough to seal all three points for the Eagles, as they took their chance against an unfortunate Southampton side.

Southampton‘s run of winless games in all competitions extended to a frustrating five as they succumbed to a narrow defeat at the hands of Alan Pardew‘s Crystal Palace side on Saturday afternoon. Yohan Cabaye‘s close-range effort, capping off a well-worked team move in the final third, was enough to seal all three points for the hosts, who were fully deserving of the victory.

Twenty minutes were on the clock before Paulo Gazzaniga was forced into making an important save, denying Yannick Bolasie‘s swerving effort – which seemed to be curling towards the top corner – with a smart parry over the crossbar.

In the absence of Maarten Stekelenburg, the visitors’ third-choice goalkeeper was certainly tested in the early exchanges.

Gazzaniga excellent for visitors

Cabaye powered goalwards with a sweetly-struck volley, which was parried to safety. Then, Connor Wickham was unlucky not to score minutes later, his powerful close-range header was thwarted by the Argentine in-between the posts.

The goalkeeping masterclass was not over yet, though. At the other end of the Selhurst Park turf, Wayne Hennessey made an acrobatic stop to push Steve Davis‘ headed flick-on over the crossbar.

Cabaye caps off well-worked move

For his succession of important saves beforehand, Gazzaniga could do nothing to prevent Cabaye’s well-worked opener.

After a neat pass into his feet by the returning Wilfried Zaha, Bolasie span past Jose Fonté as though the Portuguese centre-back was not there, before firing a low ball across the face of goal. The classy Frenchman was on hand to turn the ball home into the bottom corner.

Time for reflection

At half-time, Ronald Koeman‘s men were behind and needed a quick response. Bolasie and Zaha were both causing all sorts of problems in the final third throughout, but neither was able to double the lead. Gazzaniga kept his side in the game to deny both Wickham and Bolasie with respectively stinging efforts inside the area.

A golden chance – but ultimately squandered

In stoppage time, Shane Long had a golden opportunity to level the scoring – with virtually the last kick of the game. Hennessey was alert to the danger though, blocking Long’s effort swiftly with his legs, as the home supporters roared with delight.

They certainly appreciated the magnitude of Hennessey’s save, it confirmed that all three points were firmly staying in London, and it was deserved. As for the visitors though, they had to travel back home with the disappointment of another bitter defeat, especially when they knew they could have snatched a positive result instead.

Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa: Romeu to the rescue for Saints

Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa: Romeu to the rescue for Saints

Oriol Romeu’s 73rd minute strike ensured Ronald Koeman’s men avoided a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions – as well as keeping Remi Garde’s wait for a first PL win as Villa manager intact.

It was just the one point for Southampton as they entertained Aston Villa in one of Saturday’s 3pm kick-off’s at St.Mary’s, but could – and probably should – have been all three.

Early team news

The hosts, eager to respond positively after a Cup thrashing by Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side on Wednesday evening, were boosted by the returns of Jose Fonté as well as James Ward-Prowse and previously suspended Graziano Pellé going into the fixture itself.

Maarten Stekelenburg continued in goal, with Jordy Clasie and Shane Long just two of the viable options for Ronald Koeman to choose from the substitutes’ bench.

Chances, but no goals to show for it

Southampton could have found themselves infront with a two-goal cushion, but somehow, the scoreline remained goalless for the majority of the first-half.

Dusan Tadić fired over the crossbar from close-range, after good work down the flank by Sadio Mané to create the opportunity for the Serbian. Then, Tadić created a good chance of his own. His inch-perfect ball curled into the path of Pellé on the run towards goal, but his first-time effort flashed over the woodwork.

Victor Wanyama headed wide at the far post, Mané missed a volley, Fonte saw a goalbound effort cleared off the line by opposition striker Rudy Gestede – Southampton were all over their visitors, the opening goal was inevitable.

Villa snatch undeserved opener

It came in due course, but against the run of play as Villa snatched the lead – on the stroke of halftime no less. Jordan Veretout‘s corner delivery bounced up awkwardly towards the far post, and former Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott beat Fonte to the ball, tapping home with ease to break the deadlock in surprising fashion.

Lescott celebrates his finish from close-range as Villa took the lead

Photo: Getty | Undeserved, but he won’t mind! Lescott celebrates his late first-half opener from close-range with Ayew, Sinclair and Sanchez

Going into the interval, So’ton were down and understandably frustrated. They created so many chances, and somehow, they were losing. Virgil van Dijk came close with a headed effort, Wanyama trudged off with a knock whilst substitute Juanmi was lively in the final third, coming ever so close to levelling the scoring.

A well-deserved equaliser – from an unlikely source

It was only a matter of time, and the goal did eventually come from an unlikely source. Ward-Prowse’ corner-kick delivery floated past the defenders near the goalline, but substitute Oriol Romeu, who’d only been on the pitch for ten minutes, reacted quickly to slot home from close-range and give Southampton a deserved equaliser.

The hosts pressed for a late winner, but the tempo of the game itself was overshadowed by plenty of timewasting tactics by the visitors – souring the mood and flow of the game in the dying stages.

Shane Long came on, added another attacking outlet but neither him nor any of his teammates could steal a late winner, despite being the better side on the afternoon.

West Brom 1-0 Southampton: Berahino’s stunner seals all three points for Pulis’ men

West Brom 1-0 Southampton: Berahino's stunner seals all three points for Pulis' men

Tony Pulis’ men hosted a Ronald Koeman side who were eager for maximum points to keep their top four hopes alive, but they knew it would be a tough test away from home at The Hawthorns.

West Brom hosted top four challengers Southampton, in an intriguing fixture between two sides with something to prove. The Baggies, under new maangement with Tony Pulis in charge, wanted to solidify a place in the top half of the Premier League table – with their new boss asking for consistency as he tries to get the best out of his players; including Saido Berahino – who has been heavily linked with moves to some top European clubs.

The young Englishman ironically broke the deadlock at The Hawthorns, with a rather powerful volley effort which flew past English goalkeeper Fraser Forster into the top corner of the net – after just 74 seconds on the clock. That was his 11th Premier League goal of the 2014-15 campaign, and it was a truly special one too.

The Saints were looking for an immediate response, which did not come. They dominated possession of the ball, and attempted to dictate play in midfield but were shut out effectively and efficiently by Pulis’ men whenever they got forward deep enough into West Brom’s defence. A few half-chances were squandered for either side before the break, with the half-time scoreline going in the hosts’ favour.

In the second-half, Nigerian striker Brown Ideye had a perfect chance to double the lead for the hosts after a super pass towards his path by midfielder Craig Gardner, but his hesitation to shoot in-front of goal cost him in the end, as Maya Yoshida tracked back fast enough to block and eventually clear the danger away.

Berahino was seen clutching his leg on the ground in discomfort on the receiving end of a painful-looking challenge; he was substituted off as a precautionary measure to avoid aggravating the injury problem – Youssouf Mulumbu coming on in his place; for his first appearance following his African Cup of Nations involvement.

Southampton lacked the cutting edge going forward, with Graziano Pellé missing a golden opportunity to level the scoring in the 67th minute. A teasing low delivery was fired into his path by left-back Ryan Bertrand, but the Italian striker failed to latch onto the ball and a last-ditch clearance away by defender Chris Brunt ensured West Brom kept hold of their lead.

French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin was unlucky not to get himself on the scoresheet after having two goal-bound efforts narrowly wide. His first was an inswinging free-kick, which swerved past all of the players in the area and trickled beyond the post. His second meanwhile, was a stinging drive which was well saved by Ben Foster, just minutes after the ‘keeper was booked for time-wasting and warned about his future actions.

The hosts were inches away from doubling the lead with ten minutes to play; former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher had a half-chance from close range but his powerful effort fired wide over the bar and into the crowd behind the goal.

Pellé had another chance to end his goalscoring drought of four matches in all competitions with a goal-mouth scramble, the ball trickled towards his path but his follow-up was weak as Foster was able to smother the danger in the end. Ideye was seen hobbling painfully in the closing stages, and the physios treated him accordingly before he was replaced by Chris Baird to try and hold out for a 1-0 victory.

The fourth official signalled for four minutes of stoppage time to be added on, and The Saints continued to press attacking-wise; but West Brom held firm and secured a valuable three points in a hard-fought game despite a late charge seeing Eljero Elia‘s decent strike fired wide of Foster’s near post into the stands. The stats will have frustrated Ronald Koeman and his men no doubt, given the fact that they were heavily dominant but could not turn their dominance into goals in the match. 11 shots, just TWO on target and no goals. West Brom meanwhile had: seven shots, three on target and one goal, courtesy of Berahino’s stunning strike early on.

The result means Southampton lose ground in the top four race; staying in 5th place just a point above Liverpool and two above Tottenham – both of which have a game in hand over The Saints. Manchester United (50) and Arsenal (48) are above them in 3rd and 4th places respectively.