THANK you to everyone who submitted questions for the first edition of the Saints Mailbag.

I have tried to respond to as many as I could today so apologies if your question was not answered, I will look to get round to it next time.

It is going to be interesting to see the fan reaction if Saints put up a shocker against Liverpool next week, but at least there is the reprieve of a weekend before that.

Feel free to reach out to me anytime on social media, I will always endeavour to help. But without further ado, here are the questions you asked the Daily Echo this week…

Can we get clarity on the goalkeeper situation? @Turnernator06 @swhftbl

The short answer is no, such is the nature of how Saints have handled the goalkeeping situation. We understand that Fraser Forster himself did not have confirmation of Alex McCarthy’s contract extension until the FA intermediary report this year.

As of last week, we believe there had been no contact between the club and Forster on a new deal. Hasenhuttl had said earlier in the season that it’s likely one of the seniors would stay and a new, younger goalkeeper would be acquired to provide competition.

How Saints act also hinges on whether they keep the popular Willy Caballero as back-up for another season. If they do not, it seems a certainty that they would have to bring a new goalkeeper in – and then especially so if Forster is allowed to leave.

Saints have been linked and will continue to be linked to a number of targets, and it is a situation that could be allowed to bubble on for another year before needing a definitive answer if the club want it to.

Daily Echo: Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster (Pic: Sean Ryan)Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster (Pic: Sean Ryan)

Do the club employ/use sports psychologists for the first-team? @gregvul

Yes, they do. At the forefront of the psychological support team at Saints is Amy Spencer (Sports Psychologist) and Dr Greg Clarke (Clinical Performance).

Spencer has been working with the club from under-9s to the first-team for over 10 years, while Clarke – initially a consultant – is a more recent addition within the last five years.

Exactly how much the first-team players make use of the staff available is unknown, but they exist within the club and are very big on ‘mindfulness’.

Will Shane Long be getting an extension, as run in team suggests? @swhftbl

Despite Shane Long having made back-to-back starts versus Brighton and Crystal Palace, I would predict that the 35-year-old will not have his contract extended.

I spoke to Hasenhuttl recently about this and he did say that Long can certainly play on for a bit longer, loves his football and is a good character in the dressing room.

If he does stay, you’d think it would be on further reduced terms with a focus on mentorship for the younger forwards.

Daily Echo: Shane Long is out of contract this summer (Pic: Sean Ryan)Shane Long is out of contract this summer (Pic: Sean Ryan)

Why buy from Chelsea/City’s academies when our U18s have just won the league? @shirleymush

The simple answer is the level difference. Top under-18 players are good, but there is another step that can be up to four years between that and the Premier League. Most of them are 16-years-old.

Manchester City’s academy group are rampant throughout the upper age system of youth football, and the majority of the Chelsea under-23s who left in the last few summers have done well.

Marc Guehi for Crystal Palace, Tino Livramento and Armando Broja (loan) at Saints this season. The crops above them have created internationals in Reece James, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori etcetera – and they have shown they are willing to trade them, in large part.

So it makes sense to continue to cream what you can from players who are close to Saints level in their development, but perhaps a level below Chelsea. They then have good resell value, which is also integral to Saints’ model.

Chelsea lost a lot of their under-23 players last summer and ended up nearly relegated from Premier League 2 Division One, surviving on the last day. Next season will be exciting for Saints B though, as some of those under-18s move up and continue their path.

Is Tino’s ACL injury on the same knee as his earlier meniscus problems and in hindsight do Saints think they could have dealt with his playing time better? Jim

It is believed it is not the same knee and is therefore an isolated incident not related to the meniscus damage, which he was trying to manage without the need for surgery.

However, as pointed out by those with much broader medical knowledge than I, players can tend to overcompensate on their healthy body parts if carrying an injury like that, not wanting to exert excessive pressure on the damaged area.

Whether that played any part in the incident, we will never know. I had asked Hasenhuttl on a couple of occasions whether he felt he needed to rest Tino Livramento.

When he was on his way back, Hasenhuttl was questioned about how Romain Perraud’s form meant he did not need to rush him back – but the Austrian was insistent he needed his qualities.

There was also the incident in March, where Livramento went to England under-21 duty and started both matches – which the Young Lions were instructed by Saints not to allow.

It was said that three or four games in a row were not the best for his knee by Hasenhuttl, but he did then start him again in the next Premier League match at Leeds.

I asked Hasenhuttl whether he considered resting him, and he said ‘no, we have our own goals to fight for’. In hindsight, I do believe the 19-year-old’s gametime could have been better managed, but that is not to say it had anything to do with the ACL injury.

Daily Echo: Tino Livramento will likely miss the rest of 2022 (Pic: PA)Tino Livramento will likely miss the rest of 2022 (Pic: PA)

What happened to the new screens we were supposed to be getting at St Mary’s? @ObsureThing77

This is a great question, and one that I have asked. There is no official line beyond what everyone can see, which is they were ‘delayed’… one to wait and see next season perhaps. Seems a strange thing to announce if not in the position to deliver but there are other theories out there that obviously we cannot endorse.

Will there be an overhaul in the coaching team for next season, as has seen success in the youth teams? @_JackL_

This is another one that I asked Hasenhuttl, and it seems to make more and more sense as the weeks go on.

I say it makes sense because there is a clear lack of leadership and weak mentality in the squad, leading to the streaky runs and (not as often) inability to see out games.

Add that to certain repeat aspects of defeats (set-pieces, defensive positioning) and you have to wonder if an extra bit of experience and guidance could be helpful.

For me, it’s a no-brainer to add at least one or two fresh perspectives and ideas. Without suggesting anything about their credentials, it is a relatively inexperienced setup.

Hasenhuttl said the club are “open” to the idea and will consider anything that makes them better, but he did not sound so personally enthused at the time. One to watch.

Daily Echo: Ralph Hasenhuttl has had largely the same coaching team since 2019 (Pic: Richard Crease)Ralph Hasenhuttl has had largely the same coaching team since 2019 (Pic: Richard Crease)

What’s the likeliness of us signing another centre-back this summer? @LoneGeorgie, Tracy

It’s one that will depend on how effectively Saints can strengthen in other critical areas first, and what solutions are found going forward and in goal, but likely.

Centre-back is the other area Saints are reportedly looking to add, and the form of both Mohammed Salisu and Jan Bednarek has been alarming since March.

The former needs an experienced and reliable partner to learn from, in my opinion, as well as to calm his own nerves.

Discussions over Dynel Simeu’s role next season are understood to be happening over the next couple of weeks, with a progressive loan to a Championship or top League One side likely.

Lyanco is a very useful squad player and Jack Stephens was in great form at the start of the season, but both have had serious hamstring tendon injuries this campaign.

Daily Echo: Mohammed Salisu needs a calm partner (Pic: PA)Mohammed Salisu needs a calm partner (Pic: PA)

How much have we spent since Ralph has been at our club? (Not net spend) – Mark

The figures are not exact, but I total it to around £120-125million since December 2018 – and that obviously includes the likes of Danny Ings, Kyle Walker-Peters, Tino Livramento and Mohammed Salisu.

You specify not net spend, but that is a part you cannot ignore. Ings was then sold on for around £10million profit. Matt Targett, Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg and Jannik Vestergaard have all gone for +£10million fees to allow other deals to happen.

Hasenhuttl has really only spent funds to the tune of £20-25million in three-and-a-half years at the club, as a result of former owner Gao Jisheng’s sell-to-buy policy.

They backed him relatively substantially ahead of the 2019-20 season, and Saints recorded a finish of 11th – their best under the Austrian.

Daily Echo: Saints spun a profit on goalscorer Danny Ings to fund Adam Armstrong (Pic: PA)Saints spun a profit on goalscorer Danny Ings to fund Adam Armstrong (Pic: PA)

Can we assume that at least TV money/£ from player sales will be spent on the team this summer? @shirleymush

As we know, the TV deal for the Premier League is worth between £100million-£150million per club, depending on the club’s status.

It was around £105million for Saints in 2020-21. With that figure in mind, no, I do not think we can assume that much will be spent on players even with Sport Republic.

I would expect there to be a positive net spend for Saints, which is a rarity, and hope for a busy summer.

But the club still posted a £70million loss in the 2020-21 financial year. They made a profit of £16.8million from player sales in 2021 to try and counterbalance that.

They will still be reeling from the £40million losses induced by COVID, and it won’t be a case of every penny coming in is used to strengthen on the pitch.

Daily Echo: New Saints owners Sport Republic (Pic: Stuart Martin)New Saints owners Sport Republic (Pic: Stuart Martin)

Can they start showing the B team/18s on YouTube again? @shirleymush

With all of the B team home matches streamed before COVID, that is something that may return.

It sounds like there are no plans in place right now, but the club are aware of the demand. Another to watch.

Daily Echo:

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