Grass is not always greener says Saints boss Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman

The grass has not proved greener on the other side for a number of those who left Southampton in the summer - a development which comes as little surprise to Ronald Koeman.

An unparalleled talent drain from St Mary’s brought with it talk of a meltdown and led many commentators to predict a season ending in relegation.

Instead, Saints enter the final 13 matches of the season in a scarcely-believable fourth place - success made all the sweeter by the fact just one of the summer defectors is currently higher in the standings.

Both Calum Chambers’ Arsenal and Mauricio Pochettino-coached Tottenham began the weekend below Koeman’s side, so too Sunday’s visitors Liverpool, for whom many joked Saints were merely a feeder team.

Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert all swapped St Mary’s for Anfield in the summer, but they have enjoyed differing levels of success since moving for a combined fee reportedly around the £49million mark.

“A reason to move is not always for the player to do about football,” Koeman said. “Maybe it’s about money.

“We can’t pay salaries like the big teams in the Premier League pay. It’s always less here.

“If you stay, you stay for different reasons. You stay for the fact you are more sure that you play every weekend and it’s not too early – it’s about the age of the player and about the experience of the player.

“But I think it’s normal that you will lose players if you don’t play every season in the Champions League because it’s the intention for every player to be part of that.”