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The great Saints striker search
It all started off with an unlikely link to Carlton Cole.
Since then, Saints’ search for a striker has supposedly taken in different countries, continents even, an array of talent of varying ages, experience and stature.
Amid all the transfer rumours and speculation, there is only one thing that is for sure – with just a handful of days until the start of the new Premier League season, Saints are yet to sign a striker.
Of course, Mauricio Pochettino won’t be losing too much sleep as he already has a prolific one in his squad in the shape of Rickie Lambert, whose wonderful form has been recognised with an England call-up.
But it is no great secret that Saints would like to strengthen in that department.
It’s one of the few areas where they look a little thin on the ground.
They are one of just four top flight clubs who won’t, at present, enter 2013/14 with a new striker along with Manchester United, Fulham and Stoke City.
Lambert is, of course, the main man.
There hasn’t actually been all that much movement in the transfer window so far.
Former Saints boss Alan Pardew was quoted as saying he doesn’t think much will happen this week either due to the internationals – but it all might explode into life, dramatically, in the final couple of weeks.
The sheer number of names Saints have been linked with is enough to confuse anybody.
There is probably an element of truth in many of them.
Saints are no different to most big clubs – they very rarely just pick one player they want, go out and get him and that’s the end of it.
Mauricio Pochettino will have identified the need for a a new striker and sent his scouting department to work.
They will have watched a host of players, and based on what they have seen a few will have been watched again and again.
The club will have made contact with clubs to enquire as to availability of players.
As such, all these players are genuine links, they aren’t just made up, but it’s all this work that normally goes into landing just one player, and often the buying club won’t even know who it’s going to be until it suddenly all falls into place.
The list, though, is diverse.
For the record, it reads Carlton Cole, Charlie Austin, Gary Hooper, Gonzalo Bueno, Arouna Kone, Pablo Osvaldo, Leandro Damiao, Fabio Quagliarella, Kennedy Igboananike, Gonzalo-Bergessio, Matej Vydra, Duvan Zapata and Moussa Sow.
What is intriguing about it is the lack of a familiar trend.
There are young strikers making their way in the game right through to those much nearer the end of their careers.
There are fast and nimble strikers, and more physical ones. Some have a good goalscoring record, others have other strings to their bow or much promise for the future.
What’s interesting is the way Saints’ standing in the game has changed.
The likes of Pablo Osvaldo and Leandro Damiao appear to be very genuine links which Saints seem to have been chasing up.
But these guys are high profile internationals, who command a big fee and big wages, and who will not go anywhere without a few big fish having a good look at them too.
They simply do not fly under the radar.
There are some massive clubs linked with these guys as well as Saints – Tottenham, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Napoli, for example.
Saints are now eating at that table, or least they are pointing out their elbows and trying to nudge their way onto it.
Perhaps one signing of that magnitude will be all it takes to put the club’s name firmly back on the map in a way that, with all due respect, Charlie Austin wouldn’t have done.
Saints want a striker, they arguably need one, at the very least for cover, and surely we can expect one to join before the close of the window.
Carlton Cole was the start, but we still await the finish.
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