Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez will not be joining the list of first-team Saints stars sold this summer.
Saints chairman Ralph Krueger was unequivocal in his message that the French midfielder and last season’s top scorer will not be following Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers, as well as Mauricio Pochettino, out of St Mary’s during the transfer window.
“Specifically to Rodriguez and Schneiderlin, they will not be going anywhere,” insisted Krueger to the Daily Echo, in the face of speculation linking the pair with moves to Tottenham.
“We see them as part of a core and the core we’ve got right now and in place is a core that is where Ronald would like to go and they are a part of that core.
“Any reports that Rodriguez or Schneiderlin are leaving or we are in engaged in transfer conversations are totally off the mark.
“They will not be sold.”
Krueger was quick to defend the actions of the Saints board this summer after heavy criticism from worried fans who have seen the team that finished eighth last season dismantled.
He was adamant that all the deals were done on an individual basis and in the best interests of the club.
Saints set what Krueger described as “premium prices” for all the five individuals concerned and said they would have stayed at the club had the price tags not been met.
“We definitely did not put any player up for sale,” said Krueger.“We said from the outset that for us it was important that we would walk through the transfer window under our terms and also with an eye on what was best for the club.
“We stayed patient through the World Cup, except for Rickie Lambert which everybody knows has exceptional circumstances attached to it.
“Some players want a shortcut to Champions League football and we were adamant that without getting a premium this wasn’t going to happen but the way it has evolved is that our executive board has done an outstanding job in that we have received premiums on all those players.
“We don’t want to have players in Southampton playing for the Saints that don’t want to be there at all and see instant gratification in Champions League football and these were deals we needed to make in the best interests of the Saints.
“Taken all together I completely understand people are nervous.
“We didn’t foresee this amount and I think we have reached the end of that.”
Krueger, who also denied accusations that Saints have been bullied by other clubs, players and agents this summer, would not promise that no further sales would take place, aside from the definitive statement on Schneiderlin and Rodriguez which he again reiterated, but insisted the focus was very much on adding to this summer’s two incomings rather than outgoings.
Les Reed has previously “guaranteed” that all funds from player sales will be reinvested back into Ronald Koeman’s squad for next season.
Krueger admitted it is a complex process to weigh that up with transfer fees spilt up in different ways - Bournemouth and Lyon have also got portions of the fees for Lallana and Lovren thanks to sell-on clauses - and that the total amount spent will be broken down into wages and fees.
But as much as Saints fans are desperate for some positive news, Krueger said the club would not be rushed into signing players and that “judgement day” would come on September 1 when the transfer window closes.
“It’s important to remind people of the recruiting staff and the process in the background,” he said.
“Of course it was less complex to sell players when the premium prices were met and it is much more complex to bring the right players in.
“We are not jumping into anything.
“We have a clear clear plan and plenty of targets that fit Ronald’s style and the character of the club and we are continuing to work on them and reinvest the funds.
“Katharina Liebherr has been outstanding and we have the full backing of the ownership to reinvest the funds and that means a combination of transfer fees and wages – it’s not getting x amount in and x amount out.
“We are expecting more investment in that respect.
“We are methodically now going through to find the right deals with the right players and not doing any kind of knee jerk deals just to make people happy but we are confident in the next few weeks when players start to come in people will understand. We are still in the middle of the process.
“Judgement day is the 1st of September and, yes, we would like to have as much of the team together for Ronald as quickly as possible but the transfer window remains open.”