Saints have entered five weeks that could well define their season.

The countdown to the closing of the transfer window normally starts to gather pace in the final hours before it slams shut, but in Saints’ case the clock is ticking louder and louder every day.

Whatever the debates over the rights and wrongs of the decision to sell so many of last season’s stand out players this summer, there is one thing over which there can be no argument – Saints need some signings in the door. And fast.

Before the end of last season, before we knew so many players would depart St Mary’s for pastures new this summer, we were already talking of the need for three or four more quality signings just to give the club the chance to stand still.

There were a few areas in which even that squad were clearly short and needed strengthening. Even Mauricio Pochettino, who preferred to work with a small squad, said on several occasions the pool from which he had to select from lacked sufficient depth.

Since then Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers have all disappeared, while even the likes of Guly do Prado, hardly a first team starter but a regular sub, has gone too. It’s not a colossal loss but another body out the door.

Only Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle have come in. To say that is not enough is the understatement of the year.

Saints have looked to be on the back foot over all of this.

They seem able to sell players quickly but bringing them appears a painstaking process as negotiations drag on interminably.

That needs to change.

Even assuming nobody else goes, and at this point in time that does feel like a very optimistic assumption, they probably still need half a dozen players.

They also need some proven Premier League quality.

They have lost a huge amount of top level experience and knowhow this summer and it has to be replaced.

Saints cannot get by only signing players foreign players who have not played in the division before. Experienced Premier League players might well cost more but the club have brought in plenty of money.

They will also be wary of blowing the lid off of a wage structure, afraid it will unsettle ‘The Southampton Way’.

But most fans never want to hear the club utter that phrase again. ‘The Southampton Way’ as it was explained is not what has happened this summer and the sooner the club ditch that cringe worthy catchphrase the better. It is too reactionary to say Saints will struggle next season, but Ronald Koeman has to have some time to work with a near full squad.

It is absolutely vital given the structure of the fixture list that Saints get off to a good start and this pre-season already looks disjointed enough.

There have been calls for members of the board to come out and give interviews to reassure the fans.

But what will truly ease the fans’ nerves is to make some signings.

Saints have been made to look somewhat naive in their handling of this summer – by other clubs and their own wantaway players – and that needs to change.

If Saints are to prevent the next season from feeling like a very long and arduous one, then they need to make the coming days and weeks count like never before.