Gaston Ramirez could still have a Saints future – partly thanks to taking a holiday.

The 24-year-old Uruguayan international has struggled to make a significant first team impact in the three years since his £12m move from Bologna.

Ramirez spent last season out on loan at Hull, who were ultimately relegated from the Premier League and didn’t pursue the chance to sign him permanently.

Ramirez needs to impress this season if he wants to stay at Saints, with just one year remaining on his current contract.

Though Ramirez often gets bracketed with Dani Osvaldo in terms of big money signings who haven’t delivered at St Mary’s, he is a very different character and still has the chance to prove himself.

Saints boss Ronald Koeman thinks that Ramirez has suffered as a result of the international commitments which have often seen him travelling half way across the world during the off season.

That has not been the case this year, and Koeman is expecting to see a better Ramirez as a result.

“Gaston is back and he’s doing the pre-season with the team,” confirmed Koeman before the squad, including Ramirez, jetted off to Austria for the first leg of their overseas pre-season commitments.

“It's the first time he's had a holiday, because he had some years that he played for the Uruguay national team without holidays.

“He had a lot of injuries, and that makes it more difficult for Gaston.

“I hope now that he will do a good pre-season without any injury and to show his qualities, because still it’s a very good football player.”

If Ramirez could impress Koeman enough to force his way into his plans, he would offer another interesting attacking prospect for the Saints boss.

Ramirez’s natural talent has never been in doubt, only his ability to physically adapt to the rigours of the Premier League.

Of all the players Saints have, he and Dusan Tadic are perhaps the most suited to the number ten role that Koeman wants to employ in some matches.

Ramirez has made 48 appearances for Saints, scoring eight goals, since he joined the club.

This is certainly an important time for Ramirez and all the Saints squad, including new signings like keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, to try and impress.

“Everybody starts pre-season to have every opportunity to play and show his qualities,” reflected Koeman.

“The question was that we will have three good goalkeepers.

“We know the situation about Fraser, and we need three good goalkeepers from the beginning of the season. That was the reason we signed Stekelnburg.

“Again, they can show the qualities what they have, and then we will decide who will be the first goalkeeper.”