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Roker Ramble: Saints Could Learn From Sunderland's Recent High-Spending

Southampton recently splashed the cash on Jay Rodriguez, but could they learn from Sunderland's high-spending on Championship players?
Southampton recently splashed the cash on Jay Rodriguez, but could they learn from Sunderland's high-spending on Championship players?

You lot ready for another Roker Ramble? No? Well, tough 'cos there's another here anyway!

Having spent £7m on Jay Rodriguez, Southampton are currently one of the biggest spenders this summer.Newly-promoted teams often have the added pressure of having to hit the ground running, but are they going too fast?

We are no strangers to splashing out on Championship talent (I use that term loosely) so perhaps there are warning signs in Sunderland's recent history that the Saints could learn from.

Armed with a proportion of the late Marcus Leibherr's estate - and the new television rights deal - Southampton are one of the most active Premier League clubs in the transfer market so far. Newly-promoted clubs often have to act swiftly to close the perceived gap between England's top-flight and the Championship, yet the Saints appear to be fuelling their survival by shovelling fifty pound notes into the oil burner.

Whereas both Norwich and Swansea City based their survival on its footballing structures last season, the Saints are reverting to the methods that have seen them achieve successive promotions - acquiring the most sought-after talents in the league with the top-flight in mind as an ultimate goal. Considering that the Championship hosted a number of teams with these intentions - West Ham United and Leicester City immediately spring to mind - Nigel Adkins deserves a significant amount of credit for navigating the Saints through the leagues.

There is no doubting that Jay Rodriguez's last two seasons depict a striker that has matured into a man capable of goals. In fact, using the examples of last season's newly-promoted and the amount of players that both clubs had that were new to the Premier League, Southampton's acquisition of Rodriguez may prove to be a successful one. But not at £7m. Especially when the system that got them promoted bears no room for him, unless one of Adam Lallana or Guly Do Prado, the Saints' influential midfielders, is sacrificed.

For a Championship striker to command that fee is nothing new - Sunderland once paid the Saints a similar amount for Kenwyne Jones - but a reported follow-up approach for the just-as-rough-around-the-edges Jack Butland was mooted at a similar figure. Sunderland again went down a similar road when Roy Keane signed Craig Gordon. The point I'm making is that the club Sunderland was then is no longer the club Sunderland is now; a new Chairman and Board of Directors were summoned by Niall Quinn on horseback, and Keane went the way of the Irish money that bankrolled his first season as a Premier League manager. The same could happen to Southampton if they are not careful.

With Liebherr's estimated worth at £3billion, that admittedly appears unlikely, although in his passing Southampton has lost the will that remained when money could only take Sunderland so far. Chairman Nicola Cortese steadied a ship that had been cannoned by Liebherr's death, and steered it towards promotion, but prior to that has shown that he can be invasive - much to Alan Pardew's detriment. Adkins, like much of his squad is untried in the top-flight, but his early forays into the market are certainly bold. Only time will tell if the Saints are marching into dangerous territory.

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