Saints may dip into the transfer market this summer to beef up one of the smallest squads in the Premier League.

Team manager Mauricio Pochettino has regularly highlighted his belief that he does not have a huge number of players from which to choose, and statistics back that up, showing that Saints have used fewer than almost every side in the top flight this season.

Pochettino has fielded a total of 24 players in league action during the current campaign. Only Manchester City, with 23, have used less.

In terms of outfield players, no club is lower than Saints’ total of 21.

Pochettino said this week: “It’s clear, as I said throughout the entire season, that we have a short squad.

“We don’t have a lot of players in our squad.

“And it’s also true that, towards the end of the season, we’re suffering many injuries.”

Three players – Jay Rodriguez, Kelvin Davis and Maya Yoshida – are currently out with long-term injuries.

Saints have also been without Dejan Lovren, Victor Wanyama, Gastón Ramírez and Artur Boruc for fairly significant chunks at various stages of the season.

Pochettino explained that the squad’s depth, coupled with those injury problems, has impacted Saints’ quality in the latter part of the season.

Should he remain at St Mary’s beyond this campaign, that is something the 42-year-old will be keen to address.

It also increases the importance of Saints holding on to their best players this summer.

Simply having a vast number of bodies does not equate to success, however.

In fact, higher numbers of players used often suggest a greater degree of panic.

For example, no one has deployed more than the three sides currently in the relegation zone – Sunderland (30), Cardiff (30) and Fulham (38).

And, while they clearly have many more players who they could call upon, City, along with fellow title challengers Liverpool and Chelsea, who have each used 25 players, have shown that a settled squad is beneficial.

But what Pochettino is most likely keen to see is a greater depth in quality, rather than simply numbers.

Of the 24 players who have turned out for Saints, two are no longer at the club, with Danny Fox and Dani Osvaldo both having been loaned out in January.

Three have also been keepers, while two have not started a match.

Guly do Prado has made eight substitute appearances, and teenage midfielder Harrison Reed has been used only once, for the briefest of moments, coming on in the 89th minute of the 1-1 draw with Manchester City, at St Mary’s, in December.

In total, four players have featured less than five times.

And three squad members – Jay Rodriguez, Maya Yoshida and Kelvin Davis – are currently sidelined with long-term injuries.