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Home   /   Ralph Hasenhuttl’s last Southampton eleven, where are they now?

Ralph Hasenhuttl oversaw his final game as Southampton manager one year ago yesterday in a 1-4 home defeat to Newcastle. The result saw his side drop into the relegation zone and the team were booed off by the home supporters.  

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The ‘Alpine Klopp’ spent almost four years on the south coast and provided the fans with some unforgettable highs, ironically two years prior to his dismissal, Hasenhuttl had guided saints to the top of the Premier League and “stop the count” was trending on Twitter as Saints were in dreamland.

Hasenhuttl was liked amongst many in Southampton for his ability to grind out results with little to no financial backing, but fans can be fickle and two years later, even his strongest of supporters were turning on him and the curtains were being drawn after that 4-1 home drabbing to Newcastle. The next day, he was sacked, a splitting decision; but one thing we can all agree on is how much we wanted him back after three months with Nathan Jones.

A year later, I’m taking a look at Ralph’s final Southampton XI.

Goalkeeper: Gavin Bazunu

Southampton

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Signed in Hasenhuttl’s final summer window with the club, the then 20 year old was instantly made number one, a big responsibility for a young man who had no previous experience in England’s top flight. Having signed from Manchester City, a lot was expected from him and he struggled in his first season at St Mary’s keeping only four clean sheets in the Premier League last season.

A year later, and in the EFL Championship Bazunu has found some form and looks a lot more comfortable. After a difficult season he retained his place as the clubs number one and his incredible passing range makes him crucial to Russel Martin’s system.

The Irishman is also now a fan favourite after *scoring a last minute equaliser against Preston.

Right Back: Juan Larios

Southampton

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Another one of Southampton’s Manchester City youth army. Larios joined in the summer with a massive reputation having been a part of Barcelona’s infamous La Masia. The Spaniard impressed massively in his opening few starts but struggled with injury for the majority of his debut season with the saints. Having only played five times for Southampton, he was ruled out indefinitely and still hasn’t returned from injury. The electrifying full back is expected to be side-lined until December but looks to have an exciting future, one to keep an eye on.

Centre Back: Mohammed Salisu

Monaco

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Southampton beat the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona to the signing of the promising Ghanaian defender in 2020. A talented left footed centre back was just what the saints needed and he filled the role superbly. However, injury problems have so far limited him to finding his best form. Salisu made 80 appearances during his time on the south coast before he joined Monaco in the summer of 2023.

Yet to make an appearance for the French club, he has been ruled out with a groin injury since march.

Centre Back: Armel Bella-Kotchap

PSV (on loan from Southampton)

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Another defender set back by injury. Armel joined the club in the summer of 2022 from Bundesliga side VFL Bochum. He started his career at Southampton excellently with a compilation of his tackles going viral on Tiktok. Consistent solid performances earned him a place in Germany’s 2022 World Cup squad but he didn’t feature. Since then, the 6 foot 2 centre back has suffered a series of shoulder problems; which he has recently undergone surgery for.

Hopefully, the saints can regain their Premier League status for next season as it would be a shame to see such an abundance of talent leave the club.

Left Back: Romain Perraud

Nice (on loan from Southampton)

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The scorer of the final goal in Hassenhuttl’s tenure with an 89th minute consolation at St Marys. And what a goal it was.

A dynamic full back capable of a cracking strike. It never fully clicked for the Frenchman at Southampton. Having joined from Brest in 2021 after a season in which he accrued 10 domestic goals and assists.

There was a lot of hope that Romain could fill the void left by Ryan Bertrand who was so good in his six years at the club. But for some reason it didn’t quite happen.

Before he left on loan, Perraud assured the club it was not a ‘goodbye’ leaving speculation about his future on the south coast.

Now at Ligue 1 table toppers Nice, Perraud is yet to start for his new outfit, Making six substitute appearances.

Centre Midfielder: Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Lyon

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The versatile midfielder joined the saints on loan from Arsenal as a suspected replacement for the injured Tino Livramento. Maitland-Niles has always insisted that he prefers to play in midfield but always finds himself at right back. Lack of ability or bad luck? Who’s to say, but the Arsenal academy graduate appeared 26 times for Southampton during his one year spell at the club.

It was rumoured over the summer that he would re-join on a free transfer but he decided to venture overseas to play for French powerhouses Lyon.

However, the move may not be all he had hoped for, Lyon sit bottom of table without a win so far this campaign. The 2022 Europa Conference League winner has played 5 times for Olympique Lyonnais all in midfield, but is yet to impress manager Fabio Grosso.

Centre Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse

West Ham

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An undisputed Southampton Legend. Left the club in the summer after making over 400 appearances and scoring 55 goals in order to pursue European Football and a place in the England set-up. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe what James Ward-Prowse meant to Southampton fans and his exit was sore to say the least.

West Ham grabbed a bargain signing the ‘free-kick king’ for £30 million and he has proved his worth already scoring 2 goals and providing 3 assists in the Premier League for the west London side. He is also second in the assists chart in the Europa League.

The dynamic midfielder played once for Southampton in their current Championship season and proved crucial giving an assist to Che Adams to win the match late on.

Right Midfielder: Stuart Armstrong

Southampton

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The Scottish engine has recently declared in an interview that he has re-found his love for football under Russel Martin. Having fallen out of favour in Hasenhuttl’s final season at St Mary’s, it was rumoured that the former Celtic man was looking for a move away in the summer. However, he has rediscovered his best form and has become a vital part of this revitalised Southampton squad. ‘Stuie’ also found himself on free-kick duty after James Ward-Prowse left the club and scored a beauty to steal all 3 points for Southampton against Stoke at the Bet365 stadium.

Now aged 31 Armstrong’s current contract expires in June of 2024 and with no talks arranged for a new deal, the Scotsman could be on his way out in the summer.

Left Midfielder: Mohamed Elyounoussi.

FC Copenhagen.

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A talented player that divided opinion amongst Saints fans. Signed from Basel for over £15 million in 2018 with a reputation as one of the best young wingers in Europe. The Norwegian couldn’t break into the team and was sent out on loan to Celtic where he excelled for the Glaswegian giants. On his return from loan he managed to finally play a consistent run of games and became one of Hasenhuttl’s most trusted players.

However, he never found the spark we had all wished for and was released following his contract expiry the summer of 2023 after Southampton were relegated.

Now at Danish side Copenhagen, Elyounoussi finds himself playing Champions League football and has been a huge player for them thus far starting all of their European games, including a stellar performance against Manchester United.

Striker: Theo Walcott

Retired

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The Veteran winger decided to hang up his boots following Saints’ relegation. An academy product at the club all those years ago that went on to make nearly 400 Premier League appearances, winning 3 FA cups alongside 2 community shields.

Now retired, Walcott has made several television appearances as a pundit for Sky. The former Arsenal, Everton and Southampton man has also ignited his passion for golf since he put an end to his football career.

Striker: Che Adams

Southampton

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Che Adams remains at the club despite concrete interest from Wolves, which went down to the wire on deadline day of the summer transfer window. The Scotland international never found his best form in England’s top division netting only 25 times in 124 Premier League Appearances.

A player with tremendous hold up play who never stops running, the former Birmingham man has always puzzled saints fans as to why he wasn’t scoring more.

With Adam Armstrong leading the way in goals for Southampton so far this campaign, Adams has only scored three times up to now and with new addition Ross Stewart returning after a lengthy injury, Che could see his gametime significantly reduced.

As his contract is set to expire at the end of the season, Southampton could be willing to let the striker leave for a lower fee in the mid-season transfer period to avoid losing him on a free in the summer. Several Premier League clubs are keeping an eye on the Scotsman.

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