Thursday 20 June 2019

Koeman: Reputation lured Romeu

Oriol Romeu is Southampton's latest signing
Oriol Romeu is Southampton's latest signing

Ronald Koeman believes Southampton's reputation for the development of young players inspired Oriol Romeu to move to the south coast.

The promising Spanish midfielder completed a £5million transfer from Chelsea to Southampton earlier this week after accepting his first-team opportunities with the champions would be minimal.

In recent seasons Southampton have nurtured youth players such as Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana into full England internationals while also reviving the careers of Toby Alderweireld and Ryan Bertrand, among others, when they were at risk of stalling elsewhere.

Like many of their squad, Romeu is a talented, perhaps undervalued, individual with potential, and Koeman recognises that one of the club's strengths is working with and improving that profile of player.

"I think that's a reason [Romeu joined us]," the Southampton manager said. "We had a good example with Ryan [Bertrand] coming from Chelsea and what he is doing and how he is playing and the confidence and the minutes that he got. It is always positive for that kind of player.

"They know it is difficult to get that time playing in Chelsea and they like to be part of the Premier League. Teams like Southampton are a good next option for that type of player.

"[It's] always important for young players to have minutes to play. If he was 19 when he went to Chelsea then that's a good school but if you are still not playing at 23 years old, or two times you go on loan, one time to Valencia, one time to Stuttgart, then you need a club to play more and maybe to be patient and wait for the next step.

"The development of young players, they believe in that, and that's a good reason to come to Southampton.

"Of course [I'm proud of that reputation]. I'm doing that now but also the people before me give young players the opportunity to be part of Southampton."

Southampton's first home Barclays Premier League fixture of the season is against Everton on Saturday.

Koeman, who will return to the bench after missing his team's 2-2 draw at Newcastle while recovering from surgery to an Achilles injury, remains without the injured Bertrand, Jordie Clasie, and Steven Caulker, respectively with a knee injury, a hamstring injury and a sinus infection.

Goalkeeper Fraser Forster remains a long-term absentee as he recovers from injuring his left patellar tendon, though it remains possible that Romeu will start.

"He played already in friendlies, he is in a good physical stage," Koeman said. "His first training was [on Thursday] but it is possible that he starts but I don't say that he won't start."

Press Association

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