Fantasy Football Focus 2014/15: Southampton

Southampton Football Club

With the new season edging closer, it's time to assess your fantasy football options. Today's focus will be on Southampton.

The Saints enjoyed their best season for 10 years in the Premier League last term under Mauricio Pochettino as the Argentine guided them to an eighth-placed finish.

Although a hectic summer has seen the club lose several stars as Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw have all moved on.

New manager Ronald Koeman has taken charge and brought in Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Nathaniel Clyne and Saphir Taider, with more new faces expected to arrive before the end of the window, and attention should be paid to any more signings as they are likely to walk into the first-team in what will be a new-look Southampton team this season.

The Saints have won their first five pre-season games so far, conceding just one goal and could be set for another solid campaign despite losing key stars, but where should you be looking from a fantasy football perspective?

Budget options

DEF - Nathaniel Clyne - The 23-year-old right-back looks set to start whenever fit following Chambers's switch to Arsenal last month. The former Crystal Palace defender comes in at just 5.0 on the Premier League's official game and will likely see more playing time than in his 25 appearances last season. He picked up four assists last term and will likely build on that amount in what looks set to be an attacking side under Koeman.

MID - James Ward-Prowse - Another youngster who could shine for a low fantasy price in Ward-Prowse. The 19-year-old will benefit from Lallana's departure as he will likely take some of the set-piece responsibilities and has already scored during pre-season with a great strike against Brighton. He will play in the centre of midfield but could pick up consistent points as he looks set for another big season at St Mary's, after making 34 appearances last season.

Worth a gamble

MID - Gaston Ramirez - The Uruguayan playmaker could be a fantasy steal at 5.5, but his ongoing fitness concerns make him a major gamble once again. Ramirez only started three games last season, but he ended the campaign with one goal and three assists. If he can stay fit and find a way into Koeman's plans, then the 23-year-old is certainly worth picking up. But it is best to wait and see what his fitness and playing time is like after a few weeks of the season.

MID - Dusan Tadic - A playmaker who will feature is the new signing Tadic, and the Serbian midfielder could rack up plenty of points this season. He scored an impressive 16 goals with 14 assists in 33 appearances for FC Twente last season and if he can show a glimpse of that form, then he will be worth the 7.5 he is listed at. The 25-year-old can play across the attack and will likely be a regular starter for Koeman all season.

FOR - Graziano Pelle - Another new arrival from the Eredivisie is the former Feyenoord striker Pelle. He scored 23 goals in 28 appearances last term, picking up six more assists and is sure to lead the attack for the Saints following the departure of Rickie Lambert. The Italian comes in at 7.5 and could be worth that price and more if he can continue to score the goals that he did in his two seasons with Feyenoord. Pelle netted 55 times in 66 Eredivisie appearances and will continue to work with Koeman this year with the Saints.

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Must-have

FOR - Jay Rodriguez - One Saints star who looks set to stay with the club is Rodriguez, and the 25-year-old will hope to continue where he left off when he returns from his anterior cruciate ligament injury in October. He was the Saints' top goalscorer last season with 15 in 33 appearances and picked up three assists in that time too. He will have to adapt to new teammates but he has grown as a player with each season and will surely pick up plenty of points when he returns to action. He scored just four points fewer than Sergio Aguero (12.0) last season, and although he played in more games, Rodriguez (7.5) comes in significantly cheaper.

Which Southampton players will make your fantasy football team this season?

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