SAINTS have the chance to wrap up Premier League safety on Saturday - but that shouldn’t result in their season grinding to a halt.

How many times do we see teams all-but seal their top-flight status and then pack their suitcases for the beach?

Bournemouth are the prime example of this happening, although given their current form, they are in real danger of being relegated, so won’t be on the holiday sites just yet.

If Saints beat West Ham this weekend, they will extend their cushion above the drop zone to 13 points with just 10 matches left.

Mathematically they wouldn’t be safe, but it would take a monumental collapse and pretty much every other team below them winning their remaining games.

That’s just not going to happen.

Talk of Europe is perhaps wishful thinking, but a top-half finish certainly isn’t out of the reckoning.

But it’s crucial Saints don’t let the remainder of their season pass them by and finish with a whimper.

This is what happened last season when they won just three of their last 10 games, losing four of them and drawing three.

Ralph Hasenhuttl will make it a priority that his side doesn’t drop their standards because he’ll want to set the tone for what’s ahead in terms of the summer.

If Saints embark on a losing streak, any optimism for a proactive summer will dissipate.

But if everyone heads into the break riding high from what turned out to be an excellent season, even after a slow start, then the club will have more breathing space to get things right off the pitch.

And given how many players they are going to have to try and offload once the transfer window opens, they are going to need time.

It’s easy to forget how difficult finding buyers for the likes of Guido Carrillo, Wesley Hoedt, Mario Lemina and Fraser Forster proved to be.

Saints had to settle for loan deals but if they could get them off the wage bill, as they managed with Cedric in January, then what a bonus that would be for the club.

There has been speculation in Turkey that Galatasaray are keen on landing Lemina on a permanent basis but don’t want to pay the sort of money the St Mary’s hierarchy want.

You get the sense this could be a common theme throughout the summer as teams seek to take advantage of Saints’ desire to sell. 

That alone is going to leave the club with a dilemma.

Do they stand firm and get the money they want but then risk another year of sending players out on loan?

Or do they bite the bullet in terms of cutting their prices with the guarantee of taking huge chunks off the wage bill which would give Hasenhuttl more room to work with?

Forster and Mohamed Elyounoussi have been a success at Celtic but it’s unlikely the Scottish giants will have the finances available to sign both of them.

Carrillo, on the other hand, could end up at Leganes by default after Barcelona boosted their transfer coffers by signing Martin Braithwaite, meaning they will need to sign a striker to replace him.