The Southampton season preview 2023/24 is finally one of optimism, as they restart life back in the Championship.
New manager Russell Martin wants his Southampton side to model his keep-ball outfits at MK Dons and Swansea, but with greater efficiency in both boxes. He has the coaching nous and quality to deliver, and technical ability in the squad here, but he hasn’t won promotion as a manager yet.
That could be about to change, though. While the futures of James Ward-Prowse and Romeo Lavia remain up in the air, the Saints squad will have more than enough to at least challenge for promotion - many are tipping them for the Championship automatics already.
Southampton season preview 2023/24, the fan's view: Jake Hughes (@JJHughes_)
Last season was a horror show from start to end. Relegation was deserved.
The big talking point is the mistakes made by our rich but incompetent owners, Sport Republic, from replacing experienced players with untested youth, to hiring Nathan Jones. The fanbase is under no illusions about the Championship – we were relegated to League One not that long ago, remember – but this situation does force us into a long-overdue rebuild.
Our key player will be Charly Alcaraz, if he stays. As one of last season’s few good signings, he brings much-needed forward thinking to the midfield.
Look out for Samuel Edozi. The 20-year-old winger should get more minutes and flourish.
I’m least looking forward to playing Leicester. That fixture always fills me with dread due to a certain scoreline.
The opposition player I’d love here is Viktor Gyokeres. It’s been a long time since Saints have had a dangerous striker leading the line.
The player I’d happily drive to another club is Adam Armstrong. He has a good goalscoring record in the Championship, but looks bereft of confidence and ability in a Saints shirt. It would be a miracle if we recouped anything close to the £15m we paid.
The thing my club really gets right is the youth setup. There had been a lull, but we’re starting to see the academy bear fruit again with talents such as Tyler Dibling, Dom Ballard and Kamari Doyle getting Premier League minutes.
The active player I’d love to have back is Virgil van Dijk, to fix the leaky defence. Sadio Mané would also be welcomed back with open arms.
The fans’ opinion of the gaffer is quietly optimistic, with the odd underwhelmed groan. Russell Martin likes to play positive, passing football and we’d like to see it.
I won’t be happy unless we finally see a Southampton team to get behind. It’d be nice to have a clear style of play and some wins at home – we only saw two of those last season.
We’ll finish an oddly optimistic 2nd.
Season previews for the Premier League, League One and League Two are all available HERE
Subscribe to FourFourTwo today! Guarantee the finest football stories and interviews dropping on your doorstep every month
The FourFourTwo Season Preview issue is available in shops now. Click here to order yours with free delivery
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get FourFourTwo Newsletter
The best features, fun and footballing quizzes, straight to your inbox every week.
Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.