How Southampton's summer transfer window turned into an unexpected revolution

The rebuilt Saints head to Liverpool to face two of the players they sold to the Reds, while a third, the injured Adam Lallana, looks on

For Southampton, the transfer window became a revolution. Full-on right the way through" is the verdict of Les Reed, Southampton's executive director. "And it hasn't stopped."

LIVE: LIVERPOOL VS SOUTHAMPTON LATEST

Manager Mauricio Pochettino left in the summer – along with six first-team players for fees totalling £95m – replaced by a new manager, Ronald Koeman, and seven players costing £47.4m.

Today the rebuilt Saints face their first test, away to Liverpool, who include two of the players sold to the Reds, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren, while a third, the injured Adam Lallana, looks on.

"I think the perception is that there was just a queue of players waiting to knock on my door and be the next one out," Reed, the reluctant architect of that rebuilding, told The Independent on Sunday. But he rejects talk of a "fire sale" and believes that the media overreacted to a situation whose catalyst was the departure of Pochettino for Tottenham Hotspur on May 27.

"It was sudden," the former FA Technical Director, England coach and – for 41 days in 2006 – manager of Charlton Athletic said. "We had to identify a new manager, the right person for our vision and our structure, and we think we have. Ronald was at the top of a very short list."

But even Koeman's arrival could not prevent Lallana following Lambert to Anfield and Luke Shaw joining Manchester United. And Lovren began to press publicly to join the exodus, which would also include Calum Chambers to Arsenal.

"When players know that a big club is looking to bring them in, they dream of big and better things," Reed said. "You tell them that they might be better staying here, but once their heads are turned, you've got to make a judgement. You have to be fairly detached and businesslike about it."

How did Koeman react? "He knew exactly where we were. But we had to dispel the myths and rumours and make it clear that this was a club that was going forward. And this was amid incredible speculation that the club was about to implode, which we knew couldn't have been further from the truth. It was frustrating."

Fans, though, found events hard to square with Reed's statement in April that players were not for sale. "My message had been that we didn't need to sell, so there was no point in predators coming along thinking there was a fire sale and that there would be easy pickings. Every club has offers made for their players. We were in a position to remain very strong and make sure that the prices we got were acceptable and so we set the benchmark very high and it was up to clubs to match that."

Yet when they did, with no replacements signed, speculation was fuelled that Katharina Liebherr, the owner, was asset-stripping in preparation for selling up. Not so, Reed says. "Katharina Liebherr made an amazing impact when she came in on a more hands-on basis and internally the club was extremely motivated. But it would have been wrong to present a new coach with a squad he hadn't had any contribution to assembling. Now it's as if the pendulum has swung the other way and we're landing targets."

They include England goalkeeper Fraser Forster, Serbia playmaker Dusan Tadic and forwards Graziano Pelle and Shane Long. But could Saints have kept more of the team that finished eighth in the Premier League last season? "We would have been very happy to keep all those players," Reed said. "But I think the media frenzy and the rumours in the background and the perception made it very difficult once bids started to come in. And it was all very public. Once that happens, players believe the rumours.

"But we got good prices and we know now that every single player in the squad wants to be here. If you're going to be successful you've got to have that, but if you've got three, four, five players who are affecting that environment, then you have to make some cold decisions.

"I think the fans recognised those signs and symptoms and the majority have been brilliant, very supportive. They know we're working through this and building a team again for the future."

Having already won at Anfield managing Benfica in 2006, Koeman is not only looking forward to his baptism in English football but feeling bullish. "If you'd like put some money on us to go down, I think you will lose it," he said. "What I see in the pre-season is that we are a much better team than other teams in the Premier League."

Liverpool v Southampton is live on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 1.30pm

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits