THE STORY Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger says Saints have reached a "turning point" and the club's summer of sales is set to end, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The news comes a week after Southampton rejected midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin's transfer request. Southampton have already sold five players for a combined cost of £92.5m, but insist now that Schneiderlin and England striker Jay Rodriguez will not be sold.
“In all this most difficult of summers – which I believe never happened before and should never happen again – there is truly a lot of growth going on,” chairman Krueger says. “We have been in control of this whole process. A crisis would mean we are not in control."
TRUTH RATING: 7/10 Tottenham Hotspur and others will still believe a deal can be done for the two Southampton stars, but this latest interview with Ralph Krueger suggests that enough is enough.
Many Saints fans will worry that this ultimatum has come too late for their club, which has lost both its manager and five of its key players during an interminable summer.
Krueger is bolshie in his assertion that the remaining players will honour their commitment to the club. "You will have these kind of situations all through the season," he says. "You will never have 25 players going, ‘Yeah I love everybody here.'
"But when I sign a contract, the understanding I have is that I have to be prepared to fulfil that contract and anything else that develops needs to be a win-win. It was a win-win on those other [five] situations for both sides.”
Still, it's little use pulling up the drawbridge after your soldiers have scarpered. The list of players who have left this summer – Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren – suggests that there are too many in Southampton's squad who don't believe their career can be boosted by committing to the club. For the players who choose (or are forced) to stay, that must be a sobering prospect.