Since their reinstatement into the top flight back in 2012, Southampton have grabbed the headlines for their approach to the Premier League. Playing scintillating, free-flowing football with players nurtured through the academy, or signed for low transfer fees after a unique scouting method was completed, the way Saints have gone about their business in recent years has led to a number of football fans developing a soft spot for the south coast outfit.
A host of exciting young managers, including current Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino - now thought of as one of the world's best coaches - and Ronald Koeman, now in charge of the Netherlands national side, have helped to boost Southampton's stance as an established club in the Premier League.
Players such as Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Nathaniel Clyne, Victor Wanyama, Virgil van Dijk and Toby Alderweireld have all graced the St Mary's turf since their return to the top flight seven years ago, and though all have now moved on to what could be deemed as better things, that is proof of Southampton's shrewdness as a football club throughout the previous decade.
Soon enough, though, things were bound to catch up with Saints. Clubs simply cannot continue to sell their prized assets to the highest bidder, while gambling on new recruits each season. For years the gamble paid off and Southampton were able to continue impressing in the Premier League, despite a mass exodus at the end of each campaign.
Four consecutive top-eight finishes between 2013-2017 - which included a hugely impressive sixth-placed finish in 2016 - saw the southerners qualify for the Europa League twice, which in turn helped to increase the stature of the club. For years, life was good at Southampton, but ahead of the 2017-18 campaign, after the sacking of manager Claude Puel, things took a nosedive.
Puel was relieved of his duties at the end of the 2016-17 season, despite guiding the club to an eighth-placed finish and reaching the final of the EFL Cup. The style of football the Frenchmen implemented was dull, lifeless and didn't fit the legacy left behind by both Pochettino and Koeman. Looking back, Saints may regret that decision, but there was more to meet the eye when it came to Puel, as proven by his spell at Leicester City this season. He never really connected with the club and ultimately it cost him dearly.