The countdown is on to Saints being able to strengthen their squad for the Premier League.

Excitement is running high in Southampton following the club’s glorious elevation to the top flight.

And the major question being asked by many fans is how and where Saints will add ready for their return to the big time.

They could have to wait several weeks before any new signings start to arrive at St Mary’s to complement the squad that has completed back to back promotions.

The transfer window officially opens for business on July 1, though Nigel Adkins could strengthen from within England once the final competitive fixtures of the campaign have been played towards the end of May.

There is nothing to stop Saints signing players who are without a contract at any point, or agreeing transfers in advance.

That is increasingly becoming common practice among Premier League clubs, not just for those who are coming out of contract – players’ contracts almost exclusively run until the final day of June – but also for deals where fees are involved.

Top flight giants Chelsea and Arsenal have already exercised their ability to do just that, agreeing deals for Marko Marin and Lukas Podolski respectively.

Those transfers have been formally agreed but cannot be processed until the official window opens on July 1.

So, while the English-based transfers could start to formally happen in a few weeks time, the overseas ones will have to wait to be formally ratified.

One possible example of that is Spanish attacking midfielder Michu, the first of no doubt a long list of players who will be linked with a move to St Mary’s this summer.

Latest on the possible Michu deal and the rest of Saints news in today's Daily Echo