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Ralph Hasenhuttl insists Southampton must be "smart" in transfer market

Ralph Hasenhuttl insists Southampton must be
© Reuters
The Saints will be out to strengthen their squad again for the challenges ahead.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl accepts the club will have to think outside the box when they look to do business in a post-Brexit summer transfer market.

Boosted by a lucrative partnership agreement with club sponsors Coingaming Group, the Saints will be out to strengthen the squad again for the challenges ahead.

Hasenhuttl knows he needs more options, having seen a promising campaign which saw Southampton briefly top the table quickly unravel at the start of 2021 under the strain of a string of injury problems.

Southampton will also have to fend off interest in some of their own key personnel – with the likes of forward Danny Ings and defensive lynchpin Jannik Vestergaard among those reported to be on the wishlist of top-flight rivals.

Hasenhuttl maintains the club will not have to sell before they buy, unless looking to offload fringe players.

Yet given the current climate, the Saints understand they will have to perhaps look to unearth a few gems from less traditional avenues.

"Because of Brexit, some other markets have been opened now for us more than when we were part of the EU, so this is definitely changing a little bit," the Austrian said.

"The problem is that you have to also focus with your scouting on these markets, especially South America, for example, and we haven't so far.

"But also it is in general not easy to bring a player in the Premier League.

"On the one side, everybody thinks we have this huge money because we are Premier League club, and so you pay more for players than other teams around the world.

"Then on the other side, when you want to make a cheap transfer, then he is not good enough because you don't get a work permit."

Hasenhuttl added: "I know therefore we need a lot of money, but we have to be smart.

"We have to be really finding the transfer packages that are perfect for us and we can handle with our limits we have as a club.

"But we have to do it because you can be sure that you cannot go through such a long season without injuries, so you have to have a good second line who you trust and you can keep the level high."

Hasenhuttl, though, accepts Southampton are not about to break the bank for one stellar signing.

"We are looking for players around £10million, or even lower possibly. There are some good value players around that," he said.

"We need to look for a good mentality, good character, workload and for good quality on the pitch, then we will have a good side next season also."

Southampton travel to relegation-battlers West Brom on Monday night looking to maintain momentum from the comeback win over Burnley as they head towards the FA Cup semi-final against Leicester at Wembley.

"It was no coincidence that we have been up in the table until the beginning of January and then we made an experience that is also important for our development," Hasenhuttl said.

"The experience was that this squad, especially the players in the second line, they have not been good enough to keep us on this level when we are missing a few with injuries. This we have to change in the summer."

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