SAINTS icon Franny Benali is backing the club to finish inside the top-10 - but doesn’t think they need to spend bucketloads of cash to get there.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has the summer transfer window to begin moulding the squad in his image after keeping the St Mary’s side in the Premier League last season.

Saints haven’t finished in the top half of the table since Claude Puel guided them to an eighth-place finish in 2016/17.

When questioned whether the club’s chances of making it into the top-10 depended on the amount of money spent, Benali responded: “No one is happy to stay at the bottom of the table.

“Everyone wants to be punching as high as we can otherwise it’s pointless doing what we do.

Daily Echo: Saints boss Ralph HasenhuttlSaints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl

“But there is a reality sometimes of the situation you are in that things are tough, and you just have to fight and scrap as hard as you can.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a case of just throwing money at it. I don’t think that’s the solution.

“Of course, making money available helps, but are we ever going to pay a player a quarter of a million pounds a week?

“I doubt it and I wouldn’t want to see it in some ways. We’ve seen elsewhere that it isn’t always the right thing to do and it doesn’t always make you successful.

“As much as I’d love to see Southampton in a top-six position, I think that struggle each year is becoming much harder when you are up against the might of Manchester City and sides like that.

“There is a bracket of teams that we fall into who want to finish as high as we can and to take the big boys on in the league and cup competitions.”

Despite this, Benali thinks that a level of continuity will bolster Hasenhuttl’s chances of finishing higher up the Premier League table next year. 

Saints are on their fourth manager in the last three years after the departures of Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes.

He added: “I think we all agree that the last couple of seasons haven’t been what we want it to be and year on year the Premier League seems to get harder to stay with the top sides.

“In some ways, you are almost trying to be the best of the rest. We would all love to be in the top-six or top-four but the reality of that is a different story probably.

“We’ve had a high turnover of players and managers and it would be nice to see some continuity at the club as well.

“We have seen here and at other in the clubs in the past that it helps things. Hopefully, we will see that under Ralph during his time here.”

Before the summer transfer window opened, Hasenhuttl outlined the type of player he would like the club to sign.

He wants young players who will be willing to keep up with his demands and that have the desire to impress in the Premier League.

Daily Echo: Franny Benali was speaking at an event hosted by Virgin MediaFranny Benali was speaking at an event hosted by Virgin Media

As well as signing new additions, Benali thinks it’s important that the Austrian gets rid of the current members who don't fit his style of play.

This could lead to the departures of players such as Charlie Austin.

However, due to the number of desired outgoings and incomings, the former Saints defender believes it’s crucial they make the right decisions.

“It’s a very important summer. It’s important for every club now but none more so than ourselves,” continued Benali.

“It’s an opportunity for him [Hasenhuttl] to work with the board and almost mould a squad that is more to his choosing and liking.

“That’s going to be key to going forward next season. Whether we can do all the business he would like to do during the summer will remain to be seen.

“Some things may not be that easy or that quick but it’s a key time in any football club’s stage of the season or non-season.

“I am sure he has thought about what type of player he would like to bring in, maybe not necessarily who exactly, but he will have worked with the squad long enough to know from the current personnel who he would like to keep and who he would be happy to see move on.

“We will only find out who that is when it happens but it’s something that needs to happen I would say. The squad seems quite big and there are a lot of players out on loan.”

Franny Benali was appearing at the latest Virgin Media #SuperSaints event which saw fans play at St Mary’s Stadium. For more information on the campaign, visit