SAINTS legend Paul Jones believes the club maybe entering a period of transition with patience needed as Mark Hughes shapes his side.

This summer has been very quiet on the transfer front so far, with Saints understood to be only just beginning to pursue potential new recruits.

And former goalkeeper Jones, who made 223 appearances for Saints between 1997 and 2004, thinks Hughes' task at St Mary's, after signing on as permanent boss, isn't as straightforward as just splashing the cash in the transfer market.

“I’m sure fans will want them to spend £20/30m and whatever, but he needs to get a foot in there and it might take 12 months to get the players in that he wants," the 51-year-old, who played with Hughes for Saints and Wales, said.

“But also it's the other way around, getting the players out he doesn’t want.

“That’s the other thing, you can’t just say ‘off you go’, they’ve got contracts and maybe for two or three years.

“He’s going to have to do a bit of wheeling and dealing and I’ve seen fans saying ‘we haven’t brought anyone in’.

“But it takes time unfortunately, it’s not going to be a spin round that we’re buying these players for £40/50m.”

Having narrowly avoided relegation to the Championship last season, Jones reckons it might take time for Saints to be pushing into the top half once again.

Before last term, Saints had four successive top eight finishes in the Premier League.

“Next season still might be tough a little bit because he’ll be bringing his own players in," he said about Hughes.

“I’m sure it’ll be a better season, but if the boys will be pushing top half again it might take time.”

He continued: “People want success now but it will take time. There’s only one team that can win the Premier League.

"I know Leicester did it a few years’ ago but there’s only four or five who are going to do it again because of the money they spend.

“For Saints we always try to get into Europe but certainly anything around the top ten will be a great improvement.

“That gives Mark the chance to bring a few better players as he goes along.”

Saints have been linked with moves for Stoke's Xherdan Shaqiri as well as Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong.

Spartak Moscow star Quincey Promes – a missed January target – has also been under discussion.

Jones believes Saints may need a range of new arrivals but certainly not a new goalkeeper, with Alex McCarthy impressing so much in the second half of 2017/18.

“Alex has done brilliantly and I don’t think there’s a problem with the keeper situation at all," he said.

"Whether there’s a need for another centre-half and someone in midfield, perhaps.

“Upfront you’ve still got decent players but they haven’t performed regularly enough.

“I’m sure it’ll be a mixture. One or two experienced players in. You’ve got some very good youngsters again, so it’ll be a fine line."