RALPH Krueger sat down with the Daily Echo’s chief sports writer, Adam Leitch, earlier this week to discuss all things Saints.

In the second part of the interview, Krueger attempts to address concerns over the club’s new majority owner, Gao Jisheng, and reveals plans for off the field development.

We don’t need to worry about the Gao family having a knee jerk reaction?

No. We are communicating regularly.

We are still getting to know each other and there are many areas that our new partnership are still getting used to and understanding.

We have entered our first full transfer window together. They came in late in the last one and so there is a lot of learning to do in both directions.

We learn and understand their motivations but culturally we are a good fit.

It was wonderful he was here in December for three weeks.

At all levels we had the opportunity to spend more time together and I will be going over in February for more meetings so we continue to grow the relationship and look for opportunity.

They are being very smart in waiting and watching and learning how this all works.

We will feel the opportunity we have spoken about together with them as partners grow over time, but it’s not an overnight thing.

That is on a good track, and they now know not only me as the chairman but the people running the different operational areas and they feel extremely confident.

I can speak for them and say they are extremely confident in the management team we have here.

Do you think part of the problem is that fans worry about owners they don’t know and haven’t heard from. All they have is you assuring them, but they don’t know. What can you say to those people?

Nothing has changed from Katharina’s position and if you look around the Premier League it is the way it is evolving with management teams in place who represents ownership and are obviously in place because they have the trust of ownership.

I think it should be enough for the public to hear the thoughts of the board placed as openly as they are today and that is the way the Premier League is operating.

The majority of the other clubs would be positioned the same.

That might be true but that’s a business answer and ignoring the cultural aspect. I am saying supporters have an owner they know nothing about. With Katharina they knew something because of the heritage with Markus. With Mr Gao all they have read is that the Premier League initially rejected him as not a suitable owner for a football club and then changed it on appeal. That is worrying for them...

I think they need to look at it more encouragingly that they have come in here and are respecting what the club stands for, how the club culturally functions, and what we have here.

I think the norm would be making huge splashes and changing the faces of the board and so on and so forth which is what they have purposely not done.

Everybody will get to know them over time.

It’s the Gao family, and I have to speak for the family because Nelly and his wife were here, they are very humble and extremely respectful. They are really good people and want to get to know before making loud statements.

We are working on pledges that should be coming out in the first quarter of this year that will come directly from Mr Gao and the leadership, so you can look forward to that being the first clear statements of strategy coming from them.

They are evolving at the moment. I believe we are at five pledges and the terminology is already on my desk and we will probably get them out after my meetings in February.

But give them time. If we look around the league they are not coming in and making a lot of promises until they understand what is going on. I think it’s a very intelligent approach.

The fans have seen him. He’s here. Passionately here. And speaking no less than Katharina did.

She chose that route and her being their partner they are taking a lot of their lead and also being coached and brought into this whole scene by Katharina and following her excellent leadership in some ways.

The underlying question is less that and what is their motivation?

First of all when you make an investment like that it’s a huge statement. It’s an unbelievable statement to make a personal investment into a club and he has clearly stated his love of the region.

He has been coming here for five or six years now and he has clearly stated his love of the region, his belief in this area, this community and this city.

I can give you one insight and he is certainly also looking beyond just the football club at the opportunities around here, and I am sure I will speaking about that in the next six-12 months. Those are bigger picture situations.

This is a family that really loves the region and the football and the opportunity that comes with it and is not a short-term purchase.

Every single insight that I’ve got from spending time with them is that this is a long-term investment and you wouldn’t make this type of investment if you weren’t ambitious. His desire to be successful with the team has been clearly brought into the board and brought into us.

We feel a sportsman at work here, so that is what I can tell you.

What can you tell us about the stadium refurbishment, the training ground etc?

I can confirm here that we are beginning with the stadium refurbishment have and that’s been evolving over the last couple of the years.

We will begin in the off season with the refurbishment and how and in what depth that happens we are finalising and crossing T’s and dotting I’s.

Will you increase the capacity?

No it’s definitely not about increasing the capacity.

I have said lots of times we have to sell the stadium out with line-ups outside before we even think about that.

We are looking at refurbishment and improving the quality of the day-to-day experience of our fans.

We are happy with the number right now and we think it is a good number for Southampton.

The goal would be to have difficulty to get seats over time.

There will be a refurbishment happening in phases, probably over three summers, that the fans will enjoy.

At the training ground we are very deep into looking at what we can do with improving that facility and taking it to another level.

It’s less focussed on the first team, but particularly to continue our passion to develop the academy and the younger local and, after a certain age, foreign players to continue on that Southampton Way.

Finally we are looking at immediate investment in the area and closer to the stadium that would also give that commercial growth as a club.

Anybody following us knows that in China things are beginning to grow together with our marketing and media team working closely together with Mr Gao’s people in China to look for opportunity there.

This all takes time. It is like starting a brand new business in another country, but I think we are working really well together there.

Those are major highlights that are happening while we are battling through a Premier League season.

These are big picture things that I know will have an immediate impact on our fans, on our football and on our financial growth.

In terms of the Gao’s will they provide concrete investment in the club as well as just the purchase at some point?

There is definitely interest from him to invest, but he is a very shrewd and clever business mind and he wants to make sure these are responsible projects.

Our financial and commercial team were over in China recently and we are looking for projects where that is possible.

We are optimistic that will happen in the future and without his support we wouldn’t be able to do some of these things.