NICOLA Cortese has claimed that Saints would not be in danger of selling their prize assets if he was still at St Mary's.
There is currently continued speculation that Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana will leave this summer, after Saints received bids fo £27m and £20m for their services from Manchester United and Liverpool respectively.
Former executive chairman Cortese, who quit his role in January, believes there would be no such fears had he stayed.
“I knew the players themselves wanted to stick together because this vision was something they believed in, too," he said.
"We created those talents. It was key to keep them.
"You don't produce them just to sell, otherwise you give away your ambition."
Cortese, installed as chairman after Markus Liebherr completed his takeover in July 2009, said he didn't 'see any reason for them (the players) to go.
"I can tell you that I didn't have that fear to the last day I was at the club," he said.
"I was confident about plenty of conversations I had with the players. I knew the players themselves wanted to stick together because this vision was something they believed in, too.
"I didn't see any reason for them to go.
"I didn't have written offers, but I obviously had phone calls.
"My answer was that it was not going to happen for at least the next two seasons.
"The other chairmen respected that. Until the day I left, there were no offers."