Rumour Mill: there may be trouble ahead

Last updated : 14 November 2008 By Chris C
Bye, buy

Let's start with the bad news. Saints are well below their alleged breakeven target of 18,000 a game with record low crowds even below the Dell's old capacity of just over 15,000. We all know what that means. Players are going to have to go in January to balance the books.

Saints will hope to sell those already on loan, but the fact they are on loan indicates the difficulty of selling them on in the first place. That means the stars of the side are at risk.

There were rumours when he first signed that Arsenal had first option on the talented youngster which helped explain why Saints paid a fee that could rise to £1.2m. His form when fit has shown why Saints gambled the money with a number of Premiership vultures circling. It seems now a question of when rather than if he is heading up a league and with defensive midfield an issue at Arsenal, that first option may well be taken up.
4/5 Official Site

Surman was linked with a move to Reading during the previous transfer window, but thankfully the move failed to materialise. This week has seen him linked with a move to Stoke who are keen to add his silky skills to their more direct approach, although it is questionable whether the Saints fan will want to move until at least the end of the season. If Saints can string some decent results together and the crowds start returning, then expect him to stay.
2/5 Tabloid

The rising star of the Saints side, the talented attacking midfielder has won England U21 recognition and a host of Premiership admirers, with Fulham having a bid rejected back in the summer. Hopefully he will chose the Bale route rather than the Walcott one and see out at least a full season with his fellow academy players, but it's surely just a matter of time.
3/5 Broadsheet

The high earners
Take your pick from Davis, Rasiak, Euell, Saganowski and Skacel. Saints have been trying to offload the high earners ever since pre-season and if they get anything like a decent bid they will be off. The fact that they are on loan or still at the club means that it may be the summer before the club can offload their wages, no bad thing given the inexperience of the current side.
3/5 Broadsheet

Saint to the rescue

Enough of the bad news, the Rumour Mill is supposed to be about blind optimism of stellar signings to catapult the team into the stratosphere. That said, Saints being Saints right now, we are rather scraping the barrel when it comes to potential new recruits.

Jack Boyle
After signing a player who couldn't get into Millwall's League One team, the club are going one better and signing an amateur footballer from Chairman Michael Wilde's own Jersey. At 18 and after a number of unsuccessful trials, you have to wonder about the club's priorities when the academy is already packed with ones for the future. Who know's, he could be the next Le Tiss - only he isn't.
5/5 Holding up a shirt

Anthony Gerrard
For the sake of some blind optimism, let's dream it's his cousin Steven on his way as a swap for Lallana, but in fact it's Walsall's central defender Anthony. Saints bid unsuccessfully for him in the summer and if they can bring in some major cash from one of the rising stars above then this move could yet be resurrected.
2/5 Tabloid

Molami Bokoto
Featuring on trial from Lille, the 18-year-old midfielder scored a goal for the reserves and would fit in well with our policy of collecting youngsters not appearing for their French teams, after a tip-off from Georges Prost. Yet to feature for Lille he would be another one for the future when we already have a decent collection of them already.
3/5 Broadsheet

Chris Baird
Heavily linked with a loan move to Saints over the summer, the former Saints defender is still not featuring regularly for Fulham. It's all a question of whether Fulham are willing to pay enough of his wages so that Saints can afford him. Would add vital experience and knowledge of the club, but the finances make it unlikely.
2/5 Tabloid

Jay Simpson
The Arsenal youngster put in an eye-catching display in the mid-week Carling Cup game scoring two against an experienced Wigan side. However, there are a number of stellar strikers in front of him and Wenger has shown his willingness to loan out the likes of Bendtner and Lupoli to the Championship before. Much may hinge on any deal that Saints could strike for Schneiderlin with Saints short of goals. You heard it here first. And probably last.
1/5 Some bloke down the pub

Guide to On the Cross ratings:
0/5 Men in white coats time
1/5 Some bloke down the pub
2/5 Tabloid
3/5 Broadsheet
4/5 Official site
5/5 Holding up a shirt