BY GRAEME BELL
Southampton have produced fantastic results for many years now on a limited budget. This is mainly down to their incredible academy system that they have in place.
The Saints usually end the season in the top ten. That is incredible when teams around them are spending bucket-loads on foreign imports.
Southampton consistently produce good young players. The club in recent years have sold their top players, the likes of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne all moving onto pastures new. Since the summer of 2014, Southampton have sold 10 prominent players for £186million. The club manages to bring players through or find them for good value elsewhere. That is the key to their survival and how they continue to thrive.
The club replaces these players with ones that are of the same quality if not better. It is not only the player rotation that catches the eye, the club also attracts great managers. In the recent past we have seen Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman come and go. Now at the helm is Claude Puel, another manager that is building a great squad on the South Coast.
Narrowly missing out on the EFL Cup, losing to Manchester United in the last few minutes of a game the Saints dominated. Coming so close to silverware this year, the players will be craving more of the same next season. Currently 10th in the table after winning at Watford yesterday, another top-half finish is looking like a real possibility.
Other clubs should take note of Southampton. It is truly remarkable how they can lose some of their best players and still have a good season. The problem with the majority of the clubs in the Premier League is that they buy a lot of players from abroad. When clubs do this it prevents young academy players coming through to the first team.
Southampton’s academy is statistically the most profitable in Europe. The academy is unsurprisingly the most productive when it comes to graduates that are available for the first team.
Southampton have yet again seen some of their academy graduates in the first team. James Ward-Prowse and Matt Targett are regulars, and the likes of Harrison Reed, Jake Hesketh, Jack Stephens, Josh Sims and Sam McQueen have all had a run in the side. The Southampton model seems perfect, they continue to produce good young players.
These Academy graduates can only benefit the National side with the majority of them being English. It always great to see a player come through the ranks at a club and become an established first team player.
A lot of people involved in English football complain about the lack of home-grown players coming through the ranks. Perhaps clubs should take a leaf out of Southampton’s book, certainly the national side will reap the rewards in the future.
The constant influx of foreign talent, undoubtedly has a detrimental effect on the development of home-grown players, and something that has to change in the near future if we are to see more exciting, young British talent coming through to first teams around the country.
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