Saints cannot use the Virgil van Dijk transfer saga as an excuse for their recent poor form and must reinvest in new players to make his £75m sale a positive, according to manager Mauricio Pellegrino.

Van Dijk’s world record move to Liverpool will go through once the transfer window opens, and hand Saints a significant boost to their funds.

Pellegrino wants to bring in at least two new faces in January, and now the deal is done to focus fully on football again.

The van Dijk saga has been rumbling on since the summer, and has undoubtedly been a distraction, though Pellegrino won’t use it an excuse for a run of seven games without a win heading to face Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow.

He said: “I don’t want to use Virgil as an excuse. We are in a difficult moment because everybody has made mistakes, all my players, my staff and even the board.

“Now we have to think about the future and in one month, two months, three months everybody will realise if Virgil leaving was positive or not.

“In the future you can see if the decisions you made in the past were positive or not.”

He added: “I think the decision is done and now we have to think about the future.

“We have to try to see our target for the future.

“Sometimes at this level Southampton is impossible to bring players for £80m or £50m but maybe for us can mean in the future a couple of good players.

“Maybe we change one player for two players or three players with this money and this has to be the positive target.

“We have to analyse this situation and this is good personally for him and will be positive if we reinvest in our good targets for the future.”

Pellegrino had said he would recommend to the board that they kept hold of van Dijk in the January window, but denied suggestions he might be annoyed at being ignored.

“I think I will talk about the future, I will talk about now now the Virgil deal is done,” insisted Pellegrino.

“I think Southampton have a lot of strengths because the club did the right movement in the past to build this squad, this club to be more consistent.

“Obviously we don’t have this money to go to the market to bring the best players in the world, but we have got our targets and we want to bring, with this money, we want to reinvest with new energy. Now we have to look forward.”

The saga does throw into focus the decision making set-up at Saints, and how much input the club’s manager has, with the likes of football supremo Les Reed and Ross Wilson having a significant say on the buying and selling of players.

“Obviously my relationship with the board, with the chairman, with Les and Ross is really close,” said Pellegrino.

“Every single moment we are together making decisions and I had to be grateful with this.

“The financial people are always happy with this business, I think that is good for the club.

“I repeat if we bring our targets to the club, to think about the future. I don’t have more answers about that.”