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Don't get carried away with price tags
THE list of players linked with Saints this summer has been simply staggering.
I've been collating the rumours printed in the press over the summer, and I make it 60 players we've been in the market to buy.
Some have been a joke that someone has taken a bit too seriously - Anders Svensson saying he'd ask Saints about a return - to some completely mind blowing links - Leandre Damiao and Theo Walcott, for example.
The one everyone is talking about though is Gaston Ramirez.
I have to admit, I'd never heard of him just over a week ago. The only people who did either played Football Manager religiously or actually paid lots of attention to the Olympic football - not something I did, I have to admit.
As it stands at the time of writing, it's looking fairly likely he'll come - although I wouldn't take that as definitive.
These things are fairly changeable depending on anything - from which side of bed someone slept in to which direction the wind is blowing.
Ramirez, it has to be said, does look a tasty prospect going by the YouTube clip doing the rounds, but if you can cast your mind back 11 years (!) to Gordon Strachan's first game in charge, I'm sure you'll remember the clip shown at halftime of our new signing.
It looked even this lad sneezing would result in a 40-yard screamer.
That, ladies and gentleman, was Agustin Delgado.
He scored one goal for Saints, which came of his backside whilst he was looking the other way against Arsenal.
With that in mind, I'm not going to get too worried if Saints don't sign Ramirez - I will be annoyed if they fail to sign at least someone in his position though, plus a couple of centre halves - the display against Man City not only showed how well the team can perform, it also betrayed a few weaknesses that need to be addressed sharpish.
What confuses me about the proposed Ramirez deal was the sheer scale of it, when compared to the other deals we've this summer. Many people see a huge transfer fee and wages deal and say it shows ambition, which I don't think is always the case (hello Andy Carroll).
We can only speculate on why Ramirez - I certainly don't know how or why Saints suddenly decided to go big on him - but if it was because Adkins saw him as the perfect foil for his new system and was confident the massive wages would not be a problem for the rest of the squad, then all well and good.
If it was because the club saw a massive boon in revenues from, say, a big money move in the future, then less so, but at least he would have to be a huge success here to get that, so it still benefits the team.
If it is just to make a statement, an ego-boosting exercise because we're now mixing it with the big boys, then it can't be right.
There's a great fear in football of getting left behind, often resulting in panic buys (look, there's Andy Carroll again) which may not be the tonic for what ails.
As things stand, Matt Phillips is still being linked with Saints - whether or not he is a back-up for Ramirez or is intended as an “as well as” purchase, we just don't know. Either way, it demonstrates that irons are in the fire and that work is being done.
Although it took me a long time to warm to him, I can't fault Adkins' dealings in the transfer market to date (or indeed his overall tenure at Saints), so assuming he is left to add to his squad as he sees fit, I see no reason to think he won't address the problems that need solving and solve them well. Probably whilst quoting Sun Tzu. Again.
Ambition is not about the splashing the cash on a YouTube sensation - it is about allowing the manager to build the squad he needs to achieve what he wants. If that involves a Hollywood signing, then all well and good - but we as fans need to be wary of taking a price tag as an indication of how good someone will be for a new team. Just ask Man United fans whether they would prefer Juan Sebastian Veron or Paul Scholes in their team of the decade.
Money may well make the footballing world go round, but its effort and team work that wins matches - not price tags and YouTube clips.