Saints: No need for player exodus
Published 02/06/2014 | 12:12
Southampton maintain they have "no need to accept any offers" for their star players this summer, after England forward Rickie Lambert was allowed to leave for Liverpool.
Following the departure of manager Mauricio Pochettino to take up the Tottenham job, there has been mounting speculation the likes of World Cup duo Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw would follow the Argentine out of St Mary's Stadium.
However, the Barclays Premier League club on Monday issued a statement insisting there was not about to be a mass exodus, despite confirming a number of offers had been received, with the likes of Manchester United said to be trailing full-back Shaw and Liverpool determined to land midfield playmaker Lallana ahead of the World Cup finals.
"Southampton Football Club can confirm that we have received multiple offers for some of our players in the past weeks. This is a confirmation of the depth of the development that is ongoing in our academy and of the present standing of our first team within the Premier League. We are staying true to our plan and vision and, as a result, we have no need to accept any offers," read a statement on www.saintsfc.co.uk.
"We are deep in the process of appointing a new manager who will continue to move our club forward. It remains our preference not to partake in any transfers until the new manager is in place.
"Our scouting and recruitment department continues to monitor targets we have identified to improve our squad, and the new manager will have final input into our recruitment process."
Saints paid tribute to Lambert, who helped the south coast club return to the top flight from League One.
The 32-year-old, currently out in Miami with England's World Cup squad, underwent a medical on Saturday after a fee of £4million was agreed . Lambert is understood to have signed a two-year deal with the club who released him as a 15-year-old.
"There may be circumstances under which the club will feel it is right for a player to move on. Those circumstances have to be right for the club and the player. This is the case with Rickie's move to Liverpool," Southampton's statement continued.
"When Rickie Lambert requested to leave for Liverpool, the club felt it could not stand in the way of having him fulfil his boyhood dream of playing at home.
"It will be a big challenge to replace him and our intention is to source a quality replacement who will fill his shoes now, but also for many years to come."
Chairman Ralph Krueger added: "On behalf of the club, I would like to thank Rickie. He served with distinction and helped to take Saints from League One to the Premier League.
"Rickie has been a shining light in Saints' growth and will forever remain an icon in the history of the club. He leaves with the best wishes of everyone at Southampton and will always be welcome back at St Mary's."
Last week, Krueger claimed Southampton had been inundated with calls from some of the ''highest quality managers in Europe'' and that the club are in their strongest ever position despite Pochettino's exit, having finished eighth last season.
Former FC Basel coach Murat Yakin and Dutchman Ronald Koeman are the current bookmakers' favourites to take the St Mary's hotseat, while former Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is also said to be in the running.