After losing four Championship matches on the spin out of five games played in October, Russell Martin’s hopes of securing promotion straight back to the Premier League as Southampton manager were looking slim with the 37-year-old even worrying about his position a matter of months into his new post.
It’s turned around since that sticky patch of form thankfully for the Saints and Martin in the dug-out, the South Coast side actually haven’t lost since that run of losses with four wins from their last five second-tier matches seeing the team climb to fourth in the league standings.
Martin will still want to add new faces to his Saints group this January to help his side in the crunch months to come in their pursuit to clinch promotion, bolstering his team to potentially battle with Leicester City and Ipswich Town currently occupying the coveted top two spots.
Here are three dream signings that could come through the door at St Mary’s this January…
Southampton are rumoured to be in for Entrup when the transfer window re-opens, the 26-year-old forward lighting up the Austrian Bundesliga with his displays for TSV Hartbeg this season which has seen him attract interest.
The current TSV Hartberg attacker has 11 goals from as many games in all competitions so far, leading to the prolific 6 foot 1 attacker even being called up to the Austria national team ranks.
Southampton could well be looking at Entrup also as a viable option to bring in to bolster an attack that could be weakened if Che Adams moves on from the Saints, adding in another clinical sharpshooter to the group to go toe-to-toe with top scorer Adam Armstrong.
Hartberg’s number 11 displayed an unerring coolness in front of goal in an encounter versus Wolfsberger AC recently, only needing four shots in total to score a brace in a convincing 3-0 win as per Sofascore.
Entrup’s rich goalscoring form should see him clinch a big move away soon, with Southampton one location he could potentially call home next away from Austria.
Martin could go back to his former side and raid a player from the Swansea City squad this January, with a deal for Nathan Wood potentially back on – the Swans defender previously rumoured to rejoin his old manager in a switch to Southampton this summer, a bid of £10 million eventually waved away.
The 21-year-old defender would offer Southampton another mobile presence at the back alongside Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Swansea’s number 23 perfect for Martin’s philosophy at St Mary’s as a defender who can competently pass out from the back.
Under new Swans manager Michael Duff this season, Wood has amassed 53.4 accurate passes out from the back per game as sourced by Sofascore.
Further, Wood even has a goal next to his name this campaign alongside his other defensive contributions – bundling the ball over the line versus West Brom, a consolation strike on the day unfortunately in a 3-2 loss.
Martin might well want a fresh face in at centre-back to rival Saints captain Jack Stephens and first-team stalwart Jan Bednarek, Wood a possible shout to add to his group.
A move for Johnson this January would see Southampton go back in for another deal they failed to get over the line before, Martin interested in bringing Johnson to St Mary’s this summer but a move never materialised.
It’s a deal that would suit all parties involved, the 23-year-old completely un-used under David Moyes this season in the Premier League with West Ham’s number two often having to settle for a place on the bench.
Southampton would also benefit from the proposed deal as it would give the Saints another player to rely upon at left-back or even centre-back where Johnson can also play, the South Coast side light on left-back numbers with Ryan Manning the only player fit in the squad currently who can be deployed there.
Adding in a fresh figure would give Manning some competition, on top of just alleviating Martin’s stresses when it comes to team selections if his Irish defender was ruled to be unfit for action.