Finally some good news for Southampton fans. Well, sort of.
As the mass exodus from St. Mary’s had some people speculating about whether or not Liverpool or Arsenal could afford Saints’ tea lady (decent banter, but it happened) a couple of players seem to be sticking around on the South Coast.
[RELATED: Dissecting Saints’ exodus]
This week both Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) and Calum Chambers (Arsenal) left Southampton, as the club has now raked in over $175 million by selling players over the summer. In total 10 players have left Saints his summer, as the likes of Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana have all been sold.
New Saints manager Ronald Koeman has only bought in two players, Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle, but according to Saints’ Canadian chairman Ralph Krueger you can count on Tottenham targets Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin to be around this season.
“Jay Rodriguez and and Morgan Schneiderlin are not for sale, and they will be a part of our club as we enter the new season,” Krueger said. “They are part of the core that we have decided to keep at Southampton. In and around Jay, Morgan and the rest of our core players, we’re excited to continue to build forward.”
[RELATED: Rodriguez, Schneiderlin heading to Spurs]
Speaking to Sky Sports in the UK, Krueger also confirmed that Saints had a clear plan when entering the transfer window and will be signing plenty of players in the coming days to replace those who were sold.
“Quite clearly, we entered the transfer window with a plan,” Krueger said. “We have a clear strategic approach to this summer, and we did not put any players for sale. What we did say was that we would watch the process, we would listen and we would look for how the team would evolve out of our rebuild.”
Krueger also went on to state that the players who left wanted to take a “shortcut” to play in the UEFA Champions League but that Saints are still aiming to play in Europe. You also can’t argue with his comments that every player was sold for close to or over their maximum value.
“We set premiums on the players, and we’ve reached those premiums,” Krueger said. “Our executive level has been working outstanding hours and has put good deals together that give us a strong position to reinvest and a strong position to rebuild. It was in the best interests of the club and the best interests of our rebuild to make these deals and to continue to build forward with players and a team that wants to go the hard way into Europe.”
If you believe Krueger, then Saints had planned to sell these players all along. If so, they are playing a dangerous game in gambling on incoming players to step right in and perform as a unit just a few weeks before the season begins. Can it be done? Yes. Will it be difficult? Yes.
It’s time for new boss Koeman and his backroom staff to get busy, bring the players in and gel them together to try and salvage Saints’ season before it has even begun.