Southampton target leaves door open for future move: "I’m not going to say I wasn’t interested..."

Joakim Maehle

Genk defender Joakim Maehle has admitted he was interested in an approach from the Saints in January.

The Denmark Under-21 international was targeted by Southampton last month as a replacement for Cedric Soares, who joined Inter on loan.

Maehle insisted that he respects the wishes of the Belgian club, who were unwilling to sell a member of their starting XI midway through the season, but he left the door open to a potential move in the future.

“I’m not going to say that I wasn’t interested,” he told Het Belang van Limburg.

“This was a nice proposal from a big club from a top competition. But at the same time I have full understanding of Genk’s point of view.

“They have also been very clear from the beginning: in this winter market all starters ​​remain on board. I can only respect that.

“Because let me make it clear: I'm still very happy here. I don't grieve but fully focus on the rest of the season. We still have so much to gain.”

“If I keep on performing, this opportunity definitely needs to happen again. But whether that will be at the same club or in the same competition, you can't predict now.”

The publication Maehle spoke to reported last month that Southampton had offered around £10 million for the player.

“I don't think too much about it, the money itself is not the most important thing at this moment of my career,” he said.

“I know that many people will be surprised. In Denmark they already had wide eyes when Genk paid about £1.1 million for me.”

“This is hard to grasp but I know from myself that I'm taking steps forward. What’s more, the team is doing well: we are leading and attracting attention.

“Genk is a club with a very good name in Europe, many top talents have already left for big clubs. These aspects all have an influence on value in the player market.”