Ronald Koeman has hinted for the first time that he is not happy that Southampton are a selling club after seeing a number of the biggest stars leave St Mary’s.
The Dutchman saw Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin sold in the summer for a combined £36.5m, a year after the club recouped almost £100m from selling Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Calum Chambers and Dejan Lovren.
The Saints spent £35m this summer, with £11.5m Virgil van Dijk a success but £8m Jordy Clasie has struggled to make an impact.
The likes of Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama have all been linked with moves elsewhere, but Koeman, who is halfway through his three-year contract at Southampton, has hinted that the club’s policy of selling their biggest names might start to annoy him.
“Maybe next year,” he said.
“Of course, we would like to keep the best players, because that means that we can grow and grow,” he said.
“If not, we need to spend money, and we don’t spend a lot of money. After the last transfer window, Southampton was the only team in the Premier League who got money out of the transfer window. Nobody else, nobody else.
“Everyone else spent more money than they got. I would like to change that but I am realistic. I know the situation of the club.
“I am not really a ‘project’ manager. Football is what happens now. We have to win now. I don’t say, ‘my contract is for three seasons, my job is to have a good team after three seasons’. Come on.
“‘Project’ is a nice word. But in life you can’t look forwards. What happens today and tomorrow can be different. It is easy to say, ‘ask me at the end of my contract’. No. I am working now, we are playing now, and we have to win now.”