Ralph Hasenhuttl has admitted that Southampton must take a cautious approach in the transfer market this summer.
Saints have three games remaining this season, starting with Saturday’s home clash against Fulham. Hasenhuttl has made 13th place in the Premier League table his target. But thoughts are also on next season and how Southampton can strengthen their squad.
They already know that left-back Ryan Bertrand will be leaving at the end of his contract. Hence, they will need to bring new bodies in.
But Hasenhuttl cannot promise how much they will be able to invest.
“We’re not so sure how many players we can bring in with the money we have. But I think this is the issue we share with a lot of teams,” Hasenhuttl said.
“To strengthen a Premier League team is not so easy because you need a lot of money, because the prices haven’t come significantly down after the pandemic. It will be an interesting transfer window anyway.
“We will have a look how many players will move, how much money will be around. Definitely a lot of clubs in Europe are needing money.
“This doesn’t make the players definitely cheaper. But I think there are not so many clubs around that can buy players and if you’re going to do this we need to be very careful.”
Bertrand will leave for free and Southampton are trying to ensure the same does not happen with striker Danny Ings. He only has a year left on his current deal.
“I think the players that are here really like to be here,” Hasenhuttl said. “It’s getting more tough every year to extend contracts because very often not only the players but mostly the agents are interested in moving the players around.
“We are not the only club who is struggling with extending contracts with some players, especially when the bigger clubs are calling for them. I think it’s always a good sign of the development when they have a chance to go there.
“The problem is that we paid a lot of money for them and, when they go then for free, this is money then you lose. But, on the other side, we had their performance for these three or four years they have been here.”
Hasenhuttl expects boost for trio
One positive for Hasenhuttl is the end of Ramadan. It means he expects to get the best out of Muslim players Mohammed Salisu, Ibrahima Diallo and Moussa Djenepo over the final games.
The trio have all been fasting during daylight hours. The Southampton boss feels it has had a big impact this year.
“I had the feeling that they definitely were struggling,” he said. “But maybe because when Ramadan is in June or May or April, the days are longer, you eat later, you have to get up very early. It is a little bit easier I think when Ramadan is in November or December.
“It’s normal when you don’t eat the whole day and you’re not allowed to drink the whole day and you have the game at 8pm – we had in the last game also a break for the Ramadan players to get them a drink – then it is normal that you cannot be on the same level like the other players.”
Salisu could make just his second start in two months in defence on Saturday if Jan Bednarek does not recover from the ankle knock he picked up in midweek.
The Ghanaian centre-back has taken time to adapt to life at Saints following his move from Valladolid. But Hasenhuttl is looking forward to what he can contribute in the future.
“He’s now absolutely on a good way,” he said. “I was happy with his development so far and I always said that next season will be his, I think.”
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