MAYA Yoshida admits no one saw his Saints departure coming.

Yoshida's seven-and-a-half-year spell at St Mary's came to an end on deadline day when he joined Sampdoria on loan until the end of the season when his Saints contract runs out.

The defender was travelling with the squad to Liverpool when he was informed about the possible transfer and said his goodbyes on the coach before departing.

“Nobody expected me to leave Southampton, the media, teammates, fans or staff," explained the Japanese international.

“I felt good there, but I played little. It was a dilemma. In the end I had the courage to try, and the desire to improve further to go further. Instead of being content to sit on the bench and witness the generational change from there. 

“I would like to play again and be the protagonist of the matches and my career.”

Yoshida is yet to start a game for Sampdoria, although he made his first appearance on the bench in their 3-1 win over Torino at the weekend.

By joining the Serie A side, Yoshida has also linked up with two former Saints, as well as ex-Premier League manager Claudio Ranieri.

Both Gaston Ramirez and Manolo Gabbiadini ply their trade in Italy with Sampdoria.

Yoshida found himself behind Jack Stephens, Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard in Ralph Hasenhuttl's pecking order.

This led to the club sanctioning the Sampdoria move so that the Japan captain could start playing regular football once again.