Manchester United and Liverpool will likely have to put their respective pursuits of Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana on hold after Southampton issued a statement that essentially rules out any transfer activity until a new manager is in place.
The statement confirmed the sale of Rickie Lambert to Liverpool but insisted that, while offers had been received, no more players will be sold willingly until a replacement for Mauricio Pochettino is found, per Saints' website:
Southampton Football Club can confirm that we have received multiple offers for some of our players in the past weeks. [...]
We are staying true to our plan and vision and, as a result, we have no need to accept any offers. We are deep in the process of appointing a new manager who will continue to move our club forward. It remains our preference not to partake in any transfers until the new manager is in place.
The south coast outfit are currently without a manager after Pochettino moved on to manage Tottenham having guided Southampton to an impressive eighth-place Premier League finish last season.
Who will be at Southampton next season?
Liverpool and United have reportedly already tabled bids for their respective Southampton targets but look likely to be turned down.
According to John Richardson in the Express, the Reds have had a £25 million bid for Lallana rejected, while United are likely to fail with a £27 million move for 18-year-old full back Shaw.
Lambert—who is in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad along with Shaw and Lallana— completed his move to Liverpool for approximately £4 million, fulfilling a lifelong dream, per BBC Sport:
I can't believe it. I've loved this club all my life. I left here 17 years ago and I haven't stopped loving it since. I have always dreamt of playing for Liverpool, but I did kind of think the chance of playing for them had gone. I didn't think the chance would come.
However, it looks as though the St Mary's club are not about to let two of their other prized assets leave so easily, and the two north west clubs may now be concerned about getting their men.
Some have speculated that Saints will be in for a rough time next season, with the departure of a top manager and the likely loss of their best players, including the Financial Times' Henry Foy:
Southampton to get relegated next year after a summer of implosion. Shame after great 13/14 season, but always a danger after meteoric rise— Henry Foy (@HenryJFoy) June 2, 2014
Despite this, it seems that Southampton are very aware of the quality in their side and are eager to get a new managerial team in place before making any moves in the transfer market.
If nothing else, it appears certain that deals for either Shaw or Lallana won't be completed until after the World Cup in Brazil, where the duo's performances could see their values increase even further.
Saints look to be planning sensibly for the future, and they will either keep hold of two of their best players or bring in substantial funds with which to replace them.