Saints are gearing up for a summer of change.

Any post-season is important, but this one feels like it has added significance at St Mary’s.

Not only have Saints got to find a way forward that removes them from the relegation threatened status they have carried for the past two years but they also have to get right structural decisions that will have varying impacts on the club in the short, medium and long term.

The club have clearly been in somewhat of a state of limbo for a while.

It is more than six months since Les Reed was sacked and one month since Ralph Krueger departed stage right ahead of his contract not being renewed.

There have been a lot of ‘interim moves’ to try and keep things ticking over.

They have worked in that it has avoided too much instability in the short term and, therefore, not impacted upon Ralph Hasenhuttl or the first team squad as they fought to keep the club in the Premier League.

Now is the time that the new structure and the new people need to be put in place to guide the club. It cannot stay in interim mode. It needs directions and clarity and vision.

That is partly achieved by getting the footballing structure correct. The three new appointments previously discussed in these pages will do that, but we are still to find out where the power balance really lies in these department head type scenarios.

On the board it will be achieved by Martin Semmens taking full day-to-day charge as CEO. The chairperson role can easily be filled from the stable of Gao Jisheng as they are unlikely to be the individual getting up each morning and heading into St Mary’s to drive the club.

As well as setting the correct tone, the majority of supporters will be most concerned about how any or all of these changes will affect Hasenhuttl.

He is a manager that has quickly won the hearts of the fans who can see a brighter future under his leadership.

It is here that things get a little more intriguing and, potentially, delicate.

In modern football it is hard to strike a balance between supporting your manager and giving him all the tools he needs for success and not becoming beholden to one person meaning you are in a state of desperation when he leaves for one reason or another.

It’s a balance Saints, like many clubs, have found difficult to get right down the years.

Even going as far back as Rupert Lowe’s chairmanship there was an attempt to move away from a successful individual as manager in Gordon Strachan to a set-up where the manager was a head coach – an important person but one that could chop and change while all around them stayed static. It didn’t work out.

Under the leadership of Nicola Cortese we heard him drift towards a position where the set-up he was putting in place made the manager, as he described it, just another 'department head.’

In recent years we saw Ronald Koeman become a figure of great power as Saints manager, only for the club to kick back, taste failure as they sacked three bosses in quick succession, and now find themselves in a quandary.

Behind the scenes they have really bent over backwards to please Hasenhuttl. They have tried to give as much as they possibly can. If he has wanted it then the majority of time he has got it. And he, in turn, has delivered for the club.

The club clearly share the hopes of the supporters that Hasenhuttl will be the man to bring the good times back to St Mary’s, but this is a difficult moment.

Do they put in a place a structure that takes some of the decision making away from Hasenhuttl, especially when it’s potentially costly in terms of signings, transfers, squad size etc, spread that power more thinly at the risk of annoying him but also safeguarding themselves to the possibility he won’t be at the club forever?

Or do they try and give him everything he wants, strap themselves in for the ride, and hope that when he goes they can fill that void?

The squad size question is an interesting example of this.

Hasenhuttl wants to work with around 18-20 players plus youngsters. It doesn’t sound an unreasonable request in principal, but the majority of managers would like several more players.

So do you allow Hasenhuttl to pare things back that far to give him what he wants in the knowledge that in a year’s time you might be looking for a new manager who could be struggling to work with so few players?

This is in some way a hypothetical question, because with the numbers Saints have in their bloated squad the chances of thinning it out that much are close to zero, but it is an interesting example of the kind of dilemma that is in play.

The transfer market is another.

Hasenhuttl has spoken of wanting to add extra quality, and for deals to be done quickly this summer.

While the club’s hierarchy surely would love to deliver that if they can, they must also be strong enough to say that incomings may have to follow, and depend upon, outgoings.

If their assessment of the figures is that the poor transfer record over the last few years has left them in a difficult position where they cannot financially overburden the club by making signings first and hoping players go out to balance the books later then they must be strong enough to follow their heads, even if the manager doesn’t like it.

All of this is not easy, and particularly for an inexperienced sports club owner such as Gao Jisheng.

The list of clubs who have achieved the perfect balance for any sustained period is a relatively short one, but in amongst all the buzz of the summer transfer talk, what Saints do away from the pitch now will have a massive bearing on the years ahead.