Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk is one of the most sought-after players in English football; Saints are hopeful of clinging onto him this month. Julian Finney/Getty Images

Having scored just 19 goals in 20 Premier League games – the third-worst return in the league – it is clear to see where Southampton's problems lie. January provides them with the opportunity to address that, but much of the focus will be on who could leave St Mary's rather than arrive there.

What they need

Jay Rodriguez's impressive brace against Bournemouth on 18 December was the first time Southampton had managed to score more than once in the league since mid-October. But with Charlie Austin facing three months out on the sidelines and Shane Long only hitting the back of the net once this season, more fire power is needed. Claude Puel's attempts to convert Nathan Redmond into a centre-forward started promisingly, but have looked increasingly in need of abandoning.

With speculation around the futures of both Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte, the club may find themselves needing to bring in a centre-half who is ready to play at the top level straight away.

Who could join

Daniel Sturridge was an optimistic link to appear in the Daily Express back in November. The report suggested a bid of £25m could make its way up from the south coast for the England international in a bid to resolve that desperate shortage of goals. Rather worryingly, the Southampton boss hasn't seemed too concerned with that ineptitude in front of the net.

Hoffenheim centre-half Fabian Schar is one defender linked with the unenviable role of filling Van Dijk's shoes if and when the Dutchman leaves.

Who could leave

It will take an almighty bid to dislodge Van Dijk from the Saints back line this January, but it isn't something you can rule out with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain credited with firm interest in the Netherlands international. Puel has insisted there is no release clause in his contract, but Saints fans will none-the-less be counting the days until the window shuts and their best player remains for another half-season.

Having not been offered a new contract by the club, Fonte has again been linked with a move to Manchester United, despite Puel's insisting he will not leave the club mid-season.

What the manager has said

"It's always difficult to find a good solution in this period. I prefer to stay in a good concentration about my team, my players, to continue this work, to make progress and develop all the players.

"I want to say that I want to continue with these players, to develop them, to make good progress. The market of course is open, perhaps for a good solution, a good opportunity, but I say it's always a difficult period to find a good solution.

"For me, if a player comes during the market it is a great player, superior to all the players in the squad. This I think is always difficult for the market window."