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

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Bianca Miller in the final of The Apprentice
tvMark Wright and Bianca Miller fight for Lord Sugar's investment
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
News
i100
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
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

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick