Saints face a battle to prevent a summer exodus from St Mary’s as increasing unease spreads in the dressing room following the departure of Mauricio Pochettino.
The Daily Echo understands that a number of senior players are upset over Pochettino’s decision to quit Saints for Tottenham, which was confirmed last night, and are considering their own futures at the club as a result.
Furthermore, Saints will need to move swiftly and decisively if they are to try and quell the anxiety that has spread through the squad and attempt to hold it together.
Several star players had privately pinned their futures directly to that of Pochettino, making his move to Spurs even more worrying for Saints.
The club are already facing up to having to respond formally to huge bids from Manchester United and Liverpool for Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana respectively once the Pochettino situation was finally resolved.
There is also an expectation that offers may quickly come in for top scorer Jay Rodriguez, centre half Dejan Lovren and star midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin as clubs try to take full advantage of the uncertainty at Saints. Several other top names such as Rickie Lambert and Jose Fonte are also being linked with moves away from the club this summer.
The unease in the dressing room has mirrored closely that of the supporters as information has been sketchy as to the exact situation and what was being done to attempt to keep Pochettino at St Mary’s.
In the final weeks of the season the squad were openly prepared to challenge the board over whether they could match their collective ambitions.
There was a general feeling amongst the players and management that the last season, as brilliant as it was, was about as far as they could go without significant investment.
With big clubs sniffing around and players and agents well aware of potential interest this summer the lack of clarity over the future and now Pochettino’s move to White Hart Lane has destabilised things further.
It results in a very tough situation for Saints to now manage as they try to make a managerial appointment but with the knowledge they face a battle to hold on to many of their star players.
A big name manager could potentially hold some of the squad together but Saints may opt to go for a younger manager and a summer of inevitable rebuilding with a very different looking team at the start of next season.