Southampton’s misery stems from losing identity and transfer touch

Mauricio Pellegrino’s sacking is no surprise after he struggled to identify his best team or lift the excitement but the club have been sleepwalking into relegation danger for some time

Perhaps the biggest question is not who Southampton turn to next but whether they have left it too late. The manner in which Saints have sleepwalked to the point where they are teetering above the relegation zone has been alarming but inevitable for a while. Little has changed over the past nine months, when Mauricio Pellegrino was appointed, and the team, with one win from 17 league matches, have sat stagnant for too long.

After Claude Puel failed to woo fans with a style deemed too safe, Pellegrino was sold to supporters as an exciting manager who would reinvigorate St Mary’s with a brand of front-foot football, and up the ante at least. The Argentinian was supposed to be a breath of fresh air yet, 263 days on, he has departed and the same groans surrounding a discernibly predictable team linger.

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