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Ralph Hasenhuttl feels Southampton development makes club attractive to players

Swansea v Southampton – Emirates FA Cup – Third Round – Stadium
(Image credit: Simon Galloway)

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl believes the positive feeling around the club’s progress can help retain key talent.

Following the takeover by investment firm Sport Republic, which is backed by Serbian businessman Dragan Solak, there is renewed optimism about the direction of Hasenhuttl’s well-drilled squad.

Unlike in previous windows – with Danny Ings and Jannik Vestergaard both departing during the summer – there was no January raid on St Mary’s Stadium.

Reports suggest Newcastle’s £40million interest in defender Mohammed Salisu was firmly rebuffed, with the Saints board determined to build something sustainable rather than just cash in and start over.

Hasenhuttl believes such ambition can only have a positive impact on the players when they start to think about their own club aspirations.

“Maybe it is because everybody sees we are in a very positive way, in a developing way and we are getting better,” said the Southampton boss, who side host Coventry in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.

“We have some young players who are getting better and we are getting better as a team. The mentality has changed a little bit.

“When we stay on this track, we have a lot of positive surprises possible with this club.

“This is why everybody wants to be with us now and we try to give every player the atmosphere to develop.

“If somebody thinks he wants to go somewhere else and we cannot keep him, then there are other players around.

“The most important thing for us is we have an image as a club that develops players fantastically.

“That is worth more than all the money you can pay a player because, especially for the young lads, and there are a lot of talented players in England, they do not get a chance to play somewhere.

“They are highly welcome and they are phoning us asking us to take them and give them a chance to play.”

Whether Southampton would now perhaps be in a different situation to the one faced when accepting Liverpool’s £80m offer for Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018 remains to be seen.

Hasenhuttl accepts despite all of the club’s determination to move forward, every player still has his price.

“It will never change because there will always be a bigger club than we are,” Hasenhuttl said.

“It is a good sign that they are looking at us because it means we are doing a good job here because otherwise they wouldn’t.

“When they leave here, they are different players to when they arrived, this is what we try to do.”

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