Ronald Koeman has just 90 minutes left to hone his side before the new Premier League season kicks off – but even now he must have more questions than answers in his mind.
The new Saints boss has already made a positive impact on the club in his short time in charge, and has one final chance to work on a few things as Bayer Leverkusen visit St Mary’s tomorrow.
But with so much still up in the air in regards to transfers, it is very much a case of Koeman making the very best of what he’s got at the moment, rather than producing a finished product.
In a summer of change at St Mary’s, where a manager and a host of first team players have departed, and replacements arrived in instalments, there is still much work to do.
Saints chairman Ralph Krueger admitted as much in his Daily Echo interview this week.
His message was to judge the actions of the club and where they are come September 1, the close of the transfer window.
That rather underlines the challenge currently facing Koeman.
Obviously Saints will be working hard to bring in his desired targets as soon as possible, but with time still available to get deals done, and lots of moves yet to take place across the footballing world in a summer where things have been held up by the World Cup, it might not happen desperately quickly.
Therefore, Koeman knows he has to prepare the players currently at his disposal for Liverpool next weekend, and possibly make the assumption that is all he might have for the first few fixtures.
All the while, though, he will also be aware that things at Saints are going to change further, and transfer developments could well happen, potentially in both directions.
What has been encouraging thus far in pre-season is that Koeman has shown himself to be masterful at doing just that.
You can argue all you like over whether the quality in the squad is sufficient for where Saints wish to be in the Premier League, but much of that is actually out of Koeman’s hands.
He is not the one signing contracts and negotiating fees.
He is not the one who is doing deals for players to come and go.
His input is, of course, valuable, but ultimately he is the manager, and nowadays that means more of a coach with others taking care of the intricacies of transfer dealings.
Therefore Koeman can only focus on what is in front of him, what is at his disposal, and it’s that which has been so impressive.
Saints fans will get their first chance to see what he’s doing at St Mary’s tomorrow.
So far Saints have looked very efficient in their pre-season fixtures.
The team is obviously adapting and evolving as they learn more of what their new manager wants from them, but the foundations have looked solid.
As you might expect from a man who was a commanding centre half, he has looked to build from the back.
Saints have seemed a well-drilled and well-organised outfit.
They may not have faced the very stiffest of opposition so far this summer, certainly a long way short of what they will encounter in their opening day fixture at Anfield, but they have handled everything put in front of them with relative ease.
It has been a change in style from what we saw under Mauricio Pochettino last season.
One of the areas most badly hit this summer has been the attack.
Dusan Tadic will provide some of that as he settles in, and undoubtedly it’s where new signings will also come into the equation.
It’s not been such an expansive and expressive Saints team, albeit they have done well in finding width, via the wide players and the full backs linking up.
It’s early days but right now your main concern would be finding the necessary number of goals.
But, that said, you don’t need to score a hatful to win a game of football.
If you build on strong enough foundations, one can be enough.
That season Saints were not a great team to watch for the neutral. In fact, at times, they were positively dull.
But, boy, were they ruthlessly efficient, so well-drilled and well-organised, so hard working, every player knowing his job, and then that little extra sprinkle of quality meant they were able to grind out results.
There were a lot of 1-0 wins, and they bring exactly the same number of points as a 4-1 victory does.
We cannot label Koeman’s Saints in any particular way just yet, as there is still a long to go.
But tomorrow will provide an interesting glimpse as to where they are at the moment, even if that particular insight is probably not going to reflect where they will be in just a few weeks’ time.