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Krueger: Exodus made us stronger


Ralph Krueger believes Southampton have come out of the summer transfer window stronger than they went into it

Ralph Krueger believes Southampton have come out of the summer transfer window stronger than they went into it

Ralph Krueger believes Southampton have come out of the summer transfer window stronger than they went into it

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger says this has been a "dream summer" for the club, with the mass exodus actually helping them become stronger on and off the field.

Following their best ever Premier League campaign, St Mary's witnessed an unparalleled and, at times, uncomfortable talent drain.

The departure of manager Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff to Tottenham was quickly followed by Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers moving on to pastures new.

The odds on Saints being relegated dramatically cut after those exits, although the club acted quickly to allay fears by appointing highly-regarded Ronald Koeman before bringing in eight new players.

It is a case of so far so good for the new-look side, who head into Saturday's match with Newcastle on the back of a 3-1 win at West Ham and a transfer-window profit of more than £30million.

"We feel we're in a stronger position than we entered this crazy transfer window," chairman Krueger said.

"If someone had told me in the middle of May that - after the outs, including the managerial team, and the ins - we would be standing here speaking about what we have, I would say that would be a dream summer.

"We've had amazing financial discipline throughout it all. We still have a lot of work to do in the club. We didn't do everything perfectly this summer. We are never going to say that.

"We know we have a lot of lessons to take out of our summer steps, but they will help us in the future, for sure."

Such positivity flies in the face of what some dubbed a "meltdown" at St Mary's, where the summer exits only served to compound the January departure of divisive executive chairman Nicola Cortese.

It is talk Krueger continues to laugh off, saying Southampton have always "kept moving forwards" with a long-term view - one which gives them more strength in depth than before.

"There was a time in the summer where everybody would be thankful just for the team to be slightly competitive," he said, speaking at club partner Sunseeker's stand at the Southampton Boat Show.

"I think we are more than slightly competitive now and we just have to stay patient.

"There are a lot of changes. There are eight new players from outside, five new from inside (promoted from the academy) - that's 13 players that need to be integrated.

"We've got a new management staff, so we're very patient. The potential of this group will not necessary show up in the next few weeks.

"Everybody around it needs to understand that all this change needs some time, let it be a one-off as far as the amount of change.

"We don't expect in the next transfer windows to come anywhere close to this kind of a situation again.

"We're doing everything possible to prevent that, which I think is comfort for those who I know went through sleepless nights - and, trust me, we did too."

The future of Jay Rodriguez and, in particular, Morgan Schneiderlin were the main concerns towards the end of the window, yet Saints retained both players despite interest and intense speculation.

"When we made the decision as a club, I have to say that there were conversations afterwards, but it never got uncomfortable," Krueger said.

"It never left the realm of being respectful and I respect Morgan even more today than I did when this all started, just because of the end process, the decisions we made and we gave him time.

"I said right from the start that I was never upset about his immediate reaction, knowing that we're all human beings and that can happen.

"Over time he's shown so much character and his reaction has been on the pitch to be the best possible player he can be and to accept the decision.

"It's a great example for an approach where a club and a player maybe has differences, but always deals eye-to-eye, we communicated very openly with each other."

PA Media