No Saints fire sale, insists Reed
Published 25/04/2014 | 17:22
Executive director Les Reed has fired a shot across the bows of those hoping to lure away Southampton's top talent, warning potential suitors that the likes of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and manager Mauricio Pochettino are staying put.
Saints are all but certain to secure a comfortable top-10 finish at the end of a season in which their style and focus on home-grown talent has attracted many plaudits.
That, though, has brought with it admiring glances from afar and manager Pochettino's burgeoning reputation has seen him installed as the bookmakers' favourite to become Tottenham's next manager.
The likes of Lallana, Calum Chambers and Shaw have also been strongly linked with a move away this summer, with a report this week claiming the latter is on the verge of a move to Manchester United.
That speculation appeared to be the final straw for Reed, who took the unusual step of making a statement before Pochettino's standard press conference previewing Saturday's match with Everton.
The executive director did not take any questions, preferring instead to give a five-minute statement in order to give an "accurate picture of where we stand at the moment" due to the unrelenting speculation.
"No club has been given permission to talk to any of our players," Reed said. "That will remain so.
"As far as the policy is concerned, we've had a great season. We want to build on that season. We want to improve the squad going forward.
"We want to retain the players we've got. They are all contracted. They all have existing contracts and we intend for them to honour those contracts.
"Any enquiries we get will probably be met with a 'no, not for sale'. Our intention is to keep this very good team together and build on it by bringing new players to improve on that.
"Every transfer window, particularly in the summer, is difficult because everybody is out there trying to attract players. We have our targets. We want to improve the squad. These are things we're discussing on a daily basis.
"We will tend to develop a squad that's capable of not just maintaining the position we're in but improving next season.
"Therefore, it's a positive message we want to get out there. I think our fans deserve to understand that there is not going to be a fire sale here. We have repeatedly said that.
"We've had no offers for players. Deals are not about to be concluded for any of our players and we want to keep all of our best players here at this club and build on that for the future."
Morgan Schneiderlin has joined Southampton's injury list heading into Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Everton.
The French midfielder received a heavy knock to his quadriceps and joins Jay Rodriguez (knee) and Gaston Ramirez (ankle) on the sidelines.
Maya Yoshida (knee) remains absent for Saints for the Toffees' visit, as does back-up goalkeeper Kelvin Davis (back).
Defender Sylvain Distin misses Everton's trip with a hamstring injury.
With fellow centre-back Phil Jagielka still a week away from returning from a similar problem it means John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz will be central defensive partners.
Forward Kevin Mirallas (groin) has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and with Darron Gibson, Arouna Kone, Bryan Oviedo, Steven Pienaar and Lacina Traore all still sidelined, manager Roberto Martinez will look to his under-21s to bolster his squad.
Martinez has urged some of the club's young players to seize the opportunity presented by their current injury problems.
It leaves Martinez short of options ahead of the trip to Southampton but he has already put faith in younger players this season with great success and has no qualms about asking members of the under-21s to contribute to their bid for Champions League football.
"We have young players who are capable of coming in and showing what they can do and that excites me," Martinez said.
"This weekend maybe we will have to bring in someone from the under-21s and give him an opportunity.
"That is what we are as a club. We will not blame players that are missing we just celebrate the opportunity given to young players."