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Matt le Tissier says Southampton need more defensive cover
SAINTS legend Matt Le Tissier admits the biggest surprise of Saints’ transfer dealings this summer is that they have not yet signed a new centre half.
With just five days until the club’s opening Premier League fixture at defending champions Manchester City, the only movement at the heart of defence has been in an outward direction, with Aaron Martin moving to Crystal Palace on a season-long loan.
That has left just the regular pairing of Jose Fonte and Jos Hooiveld, with only Dan Seaborne and untested youngster Jack Stephens providing backup.
Le Tissier believes Saints need more in that position if they are to cope with the sort of firepower that their top flight opponents will be attacking them with.
“The biggest surprise to me is that there have been no centre backs brought in,” he said. “I think we’re lacking a bit in that department, in terms of strength in depth.”
The man voted the greatest Saints player of all-time by supporters admitted he had expected additions in another area by now as well.
“I thought maybe a wide player with the kind of real pace that’s going to frighten defenders and make teams defend a bit deeper,” he said.
“With the amount of money that was made from the club getting into the Premier League, I don’t think we’ve spent much of it yet.”
Le Tissier is satisfied with the four players that have arrived this summer, though, highlighting former Palace right back Nathaniel Clyne as a “bargain signing”.
And he believes that, as they have done for the past few seasons, Saints can follow in the footsteps of Norwich and survive in their first season back among the elite.
“I look at what Norwich did last season and I think the squads are pretty similar, so I see no reason why we can’t get somewhere near what Norwich achieved. I would certainly be happy with 14th or 15th place – somewhere around there,” said Le Tissier.
With the visit to Manchester City being followed by contests against Wigan, Manchester United and Arsenal, the Dell legend concedes that it might be a bumpy start for Saints.
But he is confident that, even if they are down at the bottom after the opening few weeks, they will still survive.
Le Tissier has plenty of past experience to point towards, having been part of the Saints team that lost eight of their first nine matches in 1993/94 and managed to stay up, as well as the 1998/99 side, which escaped the bottom three despite winning just a single point in their first eight games.
“If we had four points after four games I think that would be pretty decent,” he said.
“I think most fans looking at that now would take that.
“Three wouldn’t be disastrous, but anything less than that would probably be viewed as not a great start.
“I remember playing in a side once that I think had one point after eight games and we still survived.
“So my message to the fans would be yes, it’s a tough start, but if it doesn’t go great then don’t lose the faith, because we have overcome worse.”