IT was with a great sense of relief that Oriol Romeu watched Saints close out the summer transfer window quietly.

After months of intense speculation, Saints stemmed the flow of departures for the first time in several summer windows to keep all their main men. Jay Rodriguez was the only notable departure.

Saints managed this despite heavy interest in several players. Virgil van Dijk’s well-documented transfer saga was the main talking point of the window, while Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares each had their fair share of suitors.

But, unlike the past three windows, Saints resisted the temptation to sell and, despite Van Dijk’s best efforts to force through a move, the core of players have been kept together, while a few new additions have arrived, bolstering a squad the club feel has strength in depth.

“It’s very important to keep the structure of the team we had last season,” Romeu says.

“We felt good, we felt we could play good football and the longer you play with someone the better you feel playing next to him.

“We know each other more. Now we have a new manager, new things to learn, but the team is more or less the same. I truly believe that will be better for us.”

Now that Saints have managed to keep this team together and the transfer window is shut, Romeu hopes that everyone can get behind the cause and knuckle down, including Van Dijk, who handed in a transfer request amid interest from Liverpool and Chelsea last month.

Saints were always adamant that Van Dijk was not for sale and now he’s started to be re-integrated back in to the first-team, rejoining training earlier this week. So the signs are positive.

“Well, we were fully focussed on the games and the ones who were training were doing what we had to do,” Romeu explains.

“But now some players who maybe we doubted if they had to go or had to stay, now everyone is here ready to fight for his place and for the team.

“We’re now all working in the same direction. That’s very important and something that will add some strength to the team.”

Romeu has echoed the sentiments of many of his team-mates by stating that Van Dijk is very welcome back among squad, despite his ambitions to leave.

“The rumours will go for sure because he’s not leaving now,” he said. “He’s going to be here for at least six months.

“We hope he wants to join us again and we hope he wants to play with us again because he’s an amazing player and an amazing centre-back. We will be very pleased to have him back.”

With everyone pulling their efforts in the same direction, Romeu is aiming for a battle for places high up the Premier League.

It has crossed the 25-year-old’s mind that if Saints are able to push for places in the upper reaches of the top-flight, then perhaps a call up to the Spain team might become a reality.

The defensive midfielder was capped at age group level for Spain, and played at the 2012 Olympics for his nation, but is yet to play a senior game.

Although he hasn’t had communication from the Spanish set up, he says it would be “amazing” to get the chance to play at the World Cup in Russia next summer, if the chance arises.

That being said, Romeu’s only thoughts for now are on helping Saints.

“I don’t know, it’s something if the chance comes to go there [to the World Cup] it will be amazing. But my mind is here,” he said.

“And if I play well here and then I may have the chance to go there.

“But we all need to play very good and fight high in the table to get those chances to be called up. To do that, we have to do well here.

“If I’m playing well and if they need someone in the middle they may think of me.

“You never know in football, but I’m doing what I have to do and if it comes I’ll be happy.”

As Romeu says, his main focus is on events at St Mary’s and helping new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to a positive beginning to his time in charge.

The Argentine is trying to get Saints to play more attacking, free-flowing football and it’s something that Romeu believes the team are still trying to adapt to.

“He’s trying to get the best system, the best team,” he said. “But it takes time and we’re still trying to adapt to what he wants and needs. We learn as much as we can.

“In weeks like this one and the week before (without a game) it’s very important because we can get to know each other a little bit more and spend time together. So it’s been good.

“As a manager he’s very good tactically and we’re trying to learn as much as possible from him.”

Pellegrino himself admitted that drilling his ideas in to the team will take time, but Romeu believes they are not far off now really getting things to click on the pitch.

“It’s not very far off but sometimes we’re making mistakes and that’s mainly our problem,” he said.

“There are little things we need to get sorted and that will make a difference for the team.

“We need to get those sorted and make sure we don’t concede silly chances or don’t give much away because, as we know in this league, as soon as the opponent has a small chance they score straight away.”

Pellegrino’s style makes games “more crazy”, but Romeu recognises the benefit and value of playing more expansive football.

Under Claude Puel last season, Saints were often accused of playing far too defensively and, becuase of the conservative style of play, goals were often not forthcoming.

“He wants the team to play forward and break the lines and not to play only sideways because that doesn’t break anything,” he said.

“This sometimes makes the game more crazy but in the end we’ll have more chances.

“We’re trying to get that but also to get those spaces we need to move the ball quicker, to be in the right positions and fill the right gaps and we are trying to do that.

“We haven’t conceded many and that’s what we have to do – create chances and not concede. It’s the key to winning games.”

Romeu reflects on the opening three games of the season, which have seen Saints go unbeaten, but record one win and score one goal from open play.

He said: “Three games, five points. We could have had more, we could have had less.

“The feelings in those games have been good, though. We conceded a few chances against West Ham, but apart from that we’ve been really solid at the back and creating chances.

“It’s a good feeling, the only other thing is we haven’t got as many points as we would have wanted. But we go again and we have some important matches against teams we can beat. Hopefully we can get some points from those games.”

Watford come to St Mary’s this Saturday before a trip to struggling Crystal Palace.

They then face Manchester United, before a trip to Stoke.

Romeu believes these fixtures provide a huge opportunity to get a serious base of points down before the next international break in early October.

“We have another month before the next international break and it’s time to go and get good wins from teams that we have a big chance to beat,” he said.

“When we’re playing against Manchester or top teams, they are teams we must try to create problems for and get as many points as you can.

“But games against Watford or the ones we started the season with, we need to get points from.”