In the space of a month, Southampton have lost 3 out of their best 5 players and also the manager that managed to get the best out of their individual talents.
The last time a Premier League squad received such a drain of talent was Leeds United back in the 2002/2003 season. After challenging for Premier League, Champions League and UEFA Cup honours in previous seasons, Leeds came 15th in 2003; the following season they were relegated - just three years after competing in the Champions League semi-finals.
Of course the fortunes of Leeds United and Southampton are not parallel; Leeds United, a Premier League elite club, were forced to sell their players under financial pressure, whereas Southampton are a financial stable upper mid table club lucky enough to have a few players talented enough to play for bigger clubs.
Therefore, while Leeds were forced to scrounge for freebies and loans for the departed, Southampton are now loaded with cash and set to attack the market for replacements.
Talk of relegation would therefore be wide of the mark at this stage, however as Liverpool in the 2011-12 season and Tottenham have recently showed us, being armed with a wheelbarrow of cash is not always a recipe for success.
Furthermore, unlike Liverpool and Tottenham, Southampton will not be able to attract world class talent. The players they bring in will be well scouted unknowns with the ability to become great - similar to Emmanuel Mayuka (though this move has not worked out); known talented players that have lost their way in recent years - similar to Dejan Lovren; or simply average players with a high work rate - Steven Davis.
Whatever Southampton do, one thing is clear: without Pochettino, Lambert, Shaw and Lallana, any hopes of gatecrashing the top four have gone, they now face an uphill struggle to finish in the top half of the table. Lose their other talented players in Lovren and Schneiderlin, Southampton could easily be in a relegation contest.