Southampton's Sold XI Since 2014 Shows Why They're In Trouble
Southampton's win on Saturday against Bournemouth gave them a chance to stay in the Premier League next season, but the very reason they're in trouble in the first place can be attributed to the players they've sold in the last four years.
There's often a joke, and I've made it myself on this very article, that Liverpool's scouting network is basically just watching who is playing well for Southampton, or you can work out who will sign for Liverpool by checking who signs for the Saints two years before.
Like all jokes in this day and age it gets repeated so often on social media that it stops becoming funny very quickly but for Southampton it definitely stopped being funny.
It's not just Liverpool, although they are the main suspects, but in the last four years the south coast side's best players all seem to have left and whilst they've made £241.5 million from the sales it's clearly had a big impact on them.
They beat Bournemouth 2-1 today to go within a point of safety with just three games left of the season but as the Times showed on Saturday morning it's no wonder they're down near the bottom:
Dejan Lovren might have had a hard time of things during his time at Anfield but he's improved recently and at St Mary's he had two defensive midfielders in front of him which certainly helped.
Virgil van Dijk may have only left halfway through this season but his initial refusal to play, an injury and a lack of form meant he might as well not have been there in the first few months of this term.
Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne are two of the most talented full-backs in the country despite injuries and form stopping them showing that off this season.
Morgan Schneiderlin may not have worked out at Manchester United and his form is patchy at best at Everton but he was one of Southampton's best players when he was on the south coast. Equally Victor Wanyama would walk straight into Mark Hughes' first team.
Adam Lallana may also have had form and injury problems this season but he's still a hugely talented midfielder and another one who would definitely be in the current Saints team.
Gaston Ramirez may be the player Southampton miss the most and he's been solid if unspectacular for Sampdoria this season.
Graziano Pelle isn't pulling up trees in China but the Italian striker has definitely been missed considering Saints' lack of goals this season.
If they go down we know exactly why, look at that team. Where do you think it would finish?