Saints are categorically not for sale.

That was the message from Saints chairman Ralph Krueger, who vehemently denied accusations that the sale of first team players this summer has been motivated by a desire to asset strip the club to recoup the Liebherr investment before a sale.

Krueger said that he had turned down ice hockey coaching jobs in the NHL to continue to head up affairs at Saints and that he would not have done that if he believed there was any chance of the club being sold.

He told the Daily Echo: “I can categorically shoot that down.

“I can speak for myself and I was offered a few National Hockey League head coach positions and I wouldn’t have stayed in Southampton to be part of a sale.

“We wouldn’t have hired Ronald Koeman, one of the great names in football, and his staff, for any reason other than working methodically in building in Southampton a competitive club.

“It’s with the backing of Katharina so the club is not for sale.”