Accept It, Red Devils: The Saints Are for Real
Southampton has quite a history as England's largest passenger port.
So the fine folks down there know a thing or two about comings and goings.
Put their football club right in the middle of that heritage. Lately, the Saints have a way of selling their top talent and then using the dosh to re-build the side into one that beats the clubs who paid them.
Like the North American media, England's fourth estate is blinded by the big brands and familiar names. As an example, here's how London's Independent dissed the Saints for their transfer prowess at last summer's end:
It happened to JD Sports a few summers ago. This time it’s Southampton FC. They have been smashed open, kicked apart and mercilessly looted. The few players who have turned up to pre-season training must be wondering where everybody else is after a summer of sales and departures.
Plainly, the club are a shell of their former selves. And more may yet go out of the door. They have coped with losses before (Bale, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain) but nothing on this scale. The promising Bertrand is in at left-back for the promising Shaw, but almost, unimaginably, Bertrand is six years Shaw’s senior. Europe looks like it might suddenly be a long way away from the South Coast.
Players in: D Tadić (Twente, £10.9m), G Pellè (Feyenoord, £9m), R Bertrand (Chelsea, loan). Total spent: £19.9m
Players out: L Shaw (Manchester United, £27m), A Lallana (Liverpool, £23m), R Lambert (Liverpool, £4m), D Lovren ( Liverpool, £20m), C Chambers (Arsenal, £16m). Total received: £90.0m
That looks to be a tidy profit of £70.1million. Not bad for a third-place side.
Manchester United -- purchasers of long-time Saint prodigy Luke Shaw -- got to see what their money could buy when the Saints emerged victorious last weekend, making the 1-0 win stand up for the trois points to vault them above the Red Devils' large pockets.
Tired of all the doubts and questions, mostly centered around if they can keep doing it, the Saints again proved they can compete with the top money-blowers of the Premiership. Manchester United hadn't lost a match against the Saints in a decade, but the record was shattered on this day. Maybe that'll make van Gaal the new David Moyes.
The first half was pale and disappointing, but the second was anything but. However, it still took a while before a shot found its mark:
Dušan Tadić. Bargain basement. Super substitute.
As usual, it took a goal for United to start making chances. Juan Mata had all the chances coming his way:
But a bad day is a bad day, indeed.
Notice that Tadić is not only a super-sub but also a candidate of the Oscars.
Either that, or he's getting ready to do a little James Brown down at the karaoke bar: