IT’S hard to imagine any Saints fan having much sympathy for any of the players who have been sold this summer or those who want to join the extraordinary exodus.
They are all sensationally well paid, earning salaries far beyond the wildest dreams of those who pay to watch them.
And they all seemingly couldn’t wait to sprint out the exit door of the club who had done so much to help all their careers.
Morgan Schneiderlin, though, might be different.
It is possible, just, to have a shred of sympathy for him.
Just a shred, mind you.
After all, he must be thinking, why me?
Why, after letting Rickie Lambert go and Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers, have they stopped ME from making my ‘dream’ move?
That could be a worthwhile question the Frenchman is asking himself after Ralph Krueger came out on Tuesday and categorically said the player would not be sold.
That is a definitive statement by the chairman and not one where he could ever be accused of being misquoted by the media.
He has stated categorically that Schneiderlin – and injured striker Jay Rodriguez, lest we forget – will not be taking part in the great St Mary’s summer sale.
Trust Krueger has nailed his colours to the mast with that statement.
He will not be allowed to forget it.
If the man with a successful background in ice hockey keeps to it, then fans will start to trust the board again.
If for whatever reason Schneiderlin is sold before the summer transfer window slams shut, then any trust that remains will be shattered.
Like the dreams of the Saints faithful who believed that last season’s squad could well be kept together this summer.
Schneiderlin would be right to ask the above question.
Why should he be treated any differently?
He has given the club six years of good service in the first team, more than Lovren, Shaw and Chambers put together.
Is it because the club seeking to sign him is managed by the man who unceremoniously walked out on Saints earlier this summer, Mauricio Pochettino?
Would Saints really deny a player who wanted to leave a transfer just because of who is in charge of the club who want to sign him?
In this case, I’d like to think so!
Pochettino treated Saints with something bordering contempt, so why should Saints bend over backwards to accommodate his rebuilding plans.
Is it because the Saints board came in for so much criticism for selling Chambers that the penny finally dropped in the corridors of power?
Have the board woken up to the fact that so many fans are absolutely furious about the break-up of their team and that the much promised ‘transparency’ from the board hasn’t really materialised.
If Saints can say ‘no’ to Schneiderlin, why couldn’t they do the same for any of the five players previously sold?
What is the difference between Lovren wanting to leave or Chambers wanting to leave, to Schneiderlin wanting to leave?
That is a problem very much of the club’s own making.
By letting so many first team players depart – and five in a matter of weeks is a huge amount for any club, at any level – Saints have made their own bed.
Now they have to lie in it.
That could well mean Schneiderlin saying he wants to leave, in the wake of having seen so many of his colleagues depart.
Katharina Liebherr, Les Reed and Krueger have to stop the exodus somewhere otherwise Ronald Koeman will be struggling to put out a competitive side against Liverpool at Anfield on August 16.
At some point they have to draw a line under the sales and start bringing replacements in.
Some quality additions could well show Schneiderlin, as well as a disgruntled fanbase, that the club still have ambition.
Saints are playing a risky game, keeping an unhappy player.
But Schneiderlin is a highly paid professional and he needs to understand his responsibilities.
Easier said than done, though, especially with Lovren’s ‘my heart is at Anfield’ outburst at the start of this month still fresh in the mind.
Saints fans have probably had a gutful of players they once admired and adored chucking their plaudits back in their faces, and the last thing they need now is another one chucking toys out of a pram.
The Croatian centre half did himself no favours in the eyes of the fans with his childish outburst.
But he got what he wanted in the end. It might have taken a few weeks of talks but he got what he wanted. That is the bottom line.
Will Schneiderlin go down the same road?
Ralph Krueger never said Dejan Lovren would not be sold so this is a different situation entirely.
Krueger could not have been any clearer on the subject of Schneiderlin’s future.
How many fans actually believe the chairman, though, is another good question to ask.