Yup. Agree with both of you guys for the most part.
I'm not down on DeRidder; simply reserving judgment. He sounds somewhat promising. I'm just not one of those "If Adkins thinks he's good enough, I won't question it" people. I *did* feel that way about Pardew. He had some problems but he brought in some excellent transfers. Including Puncheon, who played well with Pardew. And who Saints should be able to sell at a profit even with his attitude issues, so that's how cheap Pardew got him.
Jack Cork was sort of a gimmie. Everyone knew him, everyone wanted him. Saints just had the most cash. It's clear to me he preferred to stay at Burnley but they got priced out. Which doesn't mean he's unhappy going to Saints or he hates Adkins... just that Adkins/Saints are maybe still not the draw they'd like to be. Admire Cork's loyalty though, so maybe in two years he'll feel the same way about Saints.
AOC wanting to leave is no rumor. Those quotes aren't just coming from dodgy media sources, they're straight from his mouth and on they are on ESPN, not just the Mirror or Daily Mail. He's 17 and loads of cash and the promise of superstardom are being thrown at him. And his dad thinks it's a good idea. So of course he wants to go. I can't even really blame him.
I have no beef with AOC. He stayed to help the club gain promotion, and his effort on the pitch was always decent. Even while making it clear he wants to go, he still had nothing but good things to say about both the club and its supporters. I don't think he's a pouter. If forced to stay, he would still TRY to give 100% on the pitch. But it won't be as good as if he were happy here. Also I think that if players sense they will be stuck at Saints and never be allowed to move to bigger clubs it will hurt their ability to attract players to the team and the Academy. 8 million pounds is a ton to pay for an unproven player. They're not getting ripped off. That cash can go a long way, so let AOC walk and everyone will be happy. I don't think he'll forget where he came from and will continue to speak well of the club.
Was not that happy to see Barnard re-signed. I don't hate him, and think he'll be okay in the Championship. But I think if you want to move on, that's a contract you let expire and invest some money in a younger and better player. Right now, Saints have tons of depth but lack superstar quality outside Lallana, Fonte, and maybe Cork.
Holmes, De Ridder, Forte, Chamberlain, Lallana, Guly, Schneiderlin, Cork, Connolly, Lambert, Barnard, Hammond.
Try and pick just four midfielders and two strikers out that group.