• Premier League

Southampton 'insane' to keep disgruntled stars

ESPN staff
August 6, 2014
Dejan Lovren said his head was already at Liverpool before he left Southampton for Anfield © Getty Images

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger has defended the club's decision to sanction a summer exodus by saying it would have been "insane" to keep hold of players who did not want to be there.

Former manager Mauricio Pochettino's switch to Tottenham has sparked a wave of movement through the St Mary's exit door, with several key players leaving for pastures new.

Allegations emerged that Adam Lallana issued an ultimatum before his transfer to Liverpool while Dejan Lovren publicly admitted his head was already at Anfield before moving to Merseyside.

Morgan Schneiderlin also appeared to react angrily to assertions he would not be allowed to leave the club, but Krueger has defended Southampton's transfer policy this summer, which has added £100 million to the coffers for new manager Ronald Koeman.

Ronald Koeman tweeted this picture of Southampton's empty training ground © Twitter

"There was a situation when there was so much change with the manager leaving and you theoretically ended up with a dressing room with half of your starters not really committed to being there," said Krueger.

"That is an insane risk for any club and especially a club which was already quite thin last year. Of actual centre-pieces of the club, a few have gone. Not all five were centre-pieces or irreplaceable, but you know there were a couple.

"For me, if in the end a few players are disgruntled or maybe not sure about it, you can swallow that up. You can handle that, but you can't have half the team. You can't have a brand new manager [dealing with that].

"Whether that happened out of the past or whether it happened because of the success of the Saints last year or whether it happened because players were suddenly in the national team, I don't know and it doesn't really matter.

"Something happened and I don't need to do research on it. The fact was it was there and we needed to deal with it professionally, be in control of every deal. In the end, that's something we couldn't do to Ronald, to have a dressing room like that."

Lallana and Lovren were joined by Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers in leaving Southampton this summer, while Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez were mooted with a reunion with Pochettino at Tottenham.

Krueger previously insisted the pair were not for sale, which led to Schneiderlin's angry reaction on Twitter in which he appeared to claim his Southampton career had been "destroyed". The chairman reiterated his stance on the duo and stated Schneiderlin had not been punished for his outburst.

"We're not the kind of club that right off the bat is going to overreact," he said. "The fact of the matter is there is a strategy in place and that we clearly have Morgan and Jay in the centre, as a core of players building this squad going forwards. That is our strategy and we're going to stick with it. We are now on a building and not in a reducing phase.

"Very clearly we don't communicate with our players in the public, so he was clearly informed of the fact we were not going to sell him. Immediately after that I communicated with the media about that and that is how we did it. Then he reacted [on Twitter].

"Whoever reacts in certain ways, there is passion involved here and circumstances. No, he wasn't [reprimanded]. There are situations that evolve where people can be emotional. You shouldn't, as a club, take everything personally and we didn't take that personally."

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