JOAKIM Mæhle has revealed that he was interested in joining Saints last month.

The 21-year-old right back was one of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s top targets in the transfer window, but Belgian side Genk didn’t want to sell him in January.

Mæhle said: “I’m not going to say that I wasn’t interested.

“This was a nice proposal from a big club from a top competition. But at the same time, I have full understanding of Genk’s point of view.

“They have also been very clear from the beginning: in this winter market all starters remain on board.

“I can only respect that. Because let me make it clear: I am still very happy here.

“I do not grieve but fully focus on the rest of the season. We still have so much to gain.”

Hasenhuttl stated during the window that if deals couldn’t get done with certain players, then Saints would revisit them in the summer.

And with Cedric Soares on loan at Inter Milan, who have a view to sign him permanently at the end of the season, the club needs a replacement.

Yan Valery has been Hasenhuttl’s first choice since he took charge in December, but at 19-years-old, he is still developing.

Mæhle is only two-years older than Valery, however, he has already made 47 appearances for Genk.

And when questioned whether he would like the chance to join Saints in the summer, the defender refused to rule it out.

He added: “We will see that.

“If I keep on performing, this opportunity definitely needs to happen again. But whether that will be at the same club or in the same competition, you cannot predict now.”

It was reported that Saints offered £10.5m to secure the defender's services, which is something Mæhle didn't pay attention to.

“It is difficult to grasp, it also remains virtual,” explained Mæhle

“I do not think too much about it, the money itself is not the most important thing at this moment of my career.”