Les Reed insists Saints are determined to keep their star men at the club this summer – but “guaranteed” they will reinvest any money raised through player sales back into the squad.

The executive director is a busy man as he leads the search for a new manager and deals with bids for Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw and a transfer request from Dejan Lovren, as well as looking to recruit new players.

Saints have sold Rickie Lambert to Liverpool this summer, but felt they had little choice as the striker chased a dream move back home.

Reed believes the World Cup will give Saints a bit of breathing space with few transfers expected to happen anywhere across the football universe until it wraps up.

But he remains upbeat over their chances of having an improved squad for the Premier League kick-off on August 16.

He said: “Ralph (Krueger) mentioned we’d had bids and enquiries for our players – but not as many as I thought.

“When I said (back in April) that it wasn’t our intention to sell any players, that was correct – it wasn’t our intention to sell any players.

“The important thing about what I said then was that we’d had no bids, and at that point we hadn’t.

“We’ve had enquiries and we’ve had some bids.

“However, there is no way that I or the board were going to make any decisions without the new manager having the opportunity to assess those players and their value to the squad, and having the opportunity to talk to them and to try to persuade them that this was the place to be.

“It’s a balancing act – it’s about keeping players we’ve got informed, trying to persuade them to be patient and to wait and see.

“That’s not always easy when other clubs publicly announce that they’re interested in your players because it does destabilise them a bit.

“However, it is very important that our new manager has the opportunity to show them what he might do.

“We will only make decisions based on what’s right and best for the club, so if we do sell players then it’s guaranteed that any revenues we make will be reinvested in the team.

"There’s a logistical job to be done there because we do want to bring players in and improve the team so it’s important that, whatever happens, when we do kick off on August 16 that we have improved the team and the depth and strength of the squad with the players that have come in, even if players may have gone out. However, our intention is to keep all of our core players – I wouldn’t want people to think I’ve just opened the door for transfers, that’s not the case.”

Reed has narrowed down the list of contenders to replace Mauricio Pochettino down to a list of four and an appointment is now expected next week.