No players will be sold by Southampton, promises owner Katharina Liebherr

 

The uncertainty that engulfed Southampton in the wake of chief executive Nicola Cortese's resignation was reduced further when the club's owner, Katharina Liebherr, pledged not to sell any players during the transfer window.

This follows Thursday's announcement by the manager, Mauricio Pochettino, that he will stay until the end of the season at least, defying predictions he would leave in solidarity with Cortese.

Gaining that promise not to sell players was key to Pochettino's decision to remain, following speculation that all the upheaval at St Mary's would lead to the departure of young talent such as Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse. West Ham have already made a bid to sign Rickie Lambert.

Pochettino had insisted no players would be leaving in this transfer window without his consent. This was interpreted as a challenge to Liebherr. If so it has been a successful gambit, with the owner stating, ahead of the weekend match at Sunderland: "The manager and the team have my full support."

Although Liebherr, who inherited the club on the death of her father, Markus, in 2010, has continued to pump large sums into it, Thursday was only the second time she had met Pochettino, who was appointed a year ago.

Liebherr is not expected to sanction any in-bound transfers this month, but Pochettino said he had no need of recruits as he has players returning from injury and suspension.

The manager is under contract for 17 more months but has indicated he will review his position in the summer. Much will depend on who replaces Cortese.

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