Ralph Krueger: 'Southampton are stronger this season'

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger insists that the Saints squad is stronger this season, despite the loss of Mauricio Pochettino and five high-profile players.

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger has claimed that they have a stronger squad this season despite the loss of five key players during the summer window.

A Saints side who achieved a best Premier League finish of eighth last season were ripped apart as manager Mauricio Pochettino left to take charge of Tottenham Hotspur, and was followed out of the door by a quintet of high-profile names.

Captain Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren all swapped St Mary's for Liverpool, while Luke Shaw made a £30m switch to Manchester United and Calum Chambers moved to Arsenal.

Some of the £92m recouped has been reinvested to bring in eight players for new boss Ronald Koeman, and while he has admitted that the first XI may appear weaker, Krueger insists that Southampton have a deeper squad for this campaign.

"We were up and down with many different types of emotions but we are extremely pleased with the end product," Krueger told BBC Radio Solent. "We just have an outstanding group of people who did the deals over the summer.

"There was a team in place there which took care of business at multiple levels and, possibly, through the most difficult window any club has experienced. We think we've made good business decisions, good sports decisions. We did everything with integrity through the window.

"We have a team which is filled with character and, we feel, more depth in the line-up and I think that's something that was the goal from the get-go. Last season we played from a starting 11 and there was not much behind it. I feel we are (now) in a really strong position."

Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic, Sadio Mane, Shane Long, Florin Gardos and Fraser Forster have all signed for the Saints this summer, while defenders Ryan Bertrand and Toby Alderweireld has joined on loan.

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Steven Davis of Southampton in action during the pre season friendly match between Southampton and Real Sociedad at St Mary's Stadium on August 10, 2013
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