Saints have completed the signing of Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis. Davis arrives on a free transfer from Rangers after exercising his right to terminate his contract when the club was placed into liquidation. The central midfielder brings a wealth of experience and skill to the table. Davis began his career at Aston Villa, and won awards for Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season in only his second professional campaign. Saints fans may remember he was involved in a disastrous game at St Marys at the back end of our 2004/05 relegation season. Harry Redknapp's side blew a 2-0 half time lead to lose 3-2, with Davis scoring the winner for Villa. He has been a regular at international level since making his Northern Ireland debut in 2005. Davis enjoyed an extremely distinguished four and a half year spell at Rangers, winning three league titles, five cups and one SPFA Player of the Season award. He's a well-rounded player who possesses great vision and an excellent first touch. Davis' style of play looks to be ideal for our system. He'll slot in alongside the likes of Jack Cork and Morgan Schneiderlin without any problem. All three have all the qualities needed to stand up to the rigours of regular Premier League football. I'm not sure the same could be said of Dean Hammond, who will surely now only play a bit part role. Hammond played an important part in our rise up the divisions, but may be too limited to cope with regular top flight football. He'll still be a useful person to have around the place, but I'd be surprised if he starts more than a handful of games when everyone is fit. It's sad that some of the players who brought us to the dance will be gradually phased out, but it's something that needs to be done. No room for sentiment in football.
Saints' newest signing is the second Steve Davis to play for the club. The original Davis was in the same youth-setup as Matt Le Tissier and Francis Benali during the 1980s. He made six first team appearances for the club between 1990-1991 before forging a fairly successful career in the lower divisions with Burnley and Luton.
Saints have also agreed a fee for 23 year old Dutchman Alexander Buttner. Buttner will join on a three year deal from Vitesse. He was part of Bert van Marwijk's provisional Euro 2012 Netherlands squad, but didn't make the final cut. Buttner had a spell in Ajax's youth setup as a teenager before being picked up by Vitesse in 2005. He has been a regular starter for the Arnhem based outfit since making his debut in 2008. Buttner operates mainly on the left hand side of the pitch, predominately at left back. He has also filled in at right back and in central midfield.
It will be interesting to see what role Buttner is given in Nigel Adkins's team. On the surface Saints already look well stocked for left-backs, with Danny Fox, Dan Harding, Ryan Dickson and Luke Shaw on the club's books. Dickson was deemed not good enough for the Championship however, so his future looks increasingly bleak. Harding is coming back off a fairly disappointing season and may not have what it takes in the Premier League. In demand youngster Shaw is a real talent, but not ready just yet. Fox contributed with a large number of assists last season, but is still somewhat hit and miss. On his day there aren't many players who can deliver the ball as well as him, but his defensive frailties were also exposed on a number of occasions last term. He will undoubtedly play a part, but it remains to be seen whether Adkins trusts him to play week in week out in the top flight. There's always a chance Buttner could be deployed on the left-hand side of midfield. Adam Lallana has been superb in that role over the last three years, but Saints lack cover in that position. Buttner would certainly provide that. Perhaps Adkins will even move Lallana into a more central role. All should become clear during pre-season. Buttner's versatility will definitely come in handy.