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How Southampton could line up next season

On the basis that Southampton retain their Premier League status for another year, Sports Mole predicts how Ralph Hasenhuttl's side could line up next season.

In his first full season in charge, Ralph Hasenhuttl[1] would have hoped that Southampton[2] would be occupying a place in the top half of the Premier League standings with nine games remaining.

Although holding just a seven-point cushion above the relegation zone is far from disastrous, the Austrian will feel that his side have underachieved since the beginning of August.

Providing that they successfully retain their top-flight status for another 12 months, Hasenhuttl is expected to make several alterations to his preferred XI.

With that in mind, Sports Mole takes a look at how the Saints could line up on the opening day of next season.

SOUXI next season

Despite having been fancied to become a future deputy to Alisson Becker[3] at Liverpool, Alex McCarthy[4] appears likely to remain as first-choice goalkeeper at St Mary's.

There could be a change at right-back, however, with Genk's Joakim Maehle[5] being tipped to take over from Yan Valery[6] and Kyle Walker-Peters[7].

The remainder of the backline could remain the same, providing that Southampton are able to extend Ryan Bertrand[8]'s contract past the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

With Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg[9] a potential departure in midfield, Hasenhuttl could look to bring in Florian Grillitsch[10] as a like-for-like replacement.

While the rest of the current preferred XI may remain the same, Hasenhuttl will eventually want to hand Michael Obafemi[11] a prolonged run in the team.

Although Shane Long[12] has recently been finding the back of the net, Obafemi could take his place alongside Danny Ings[13] in the starting lineup next season.

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