Martin on Saints' recruitment plans

2023-24/Pre Season Staplewood/20230629 Pre Season Training/20230629_Pre_Season_120_c8rki2

Russell Martin says he is in regular dialogue with Jason Wilcox regarding potential summer signings, as Southampton look to build a promotion-winning team.

The new boss revealed Wilcox, Saints’ new Director of Football, is heading up transfer business, and the pair are aligned on the profile of player they hope to recruit for each position on the pitch.

Whilst departures are inevitable, and necessary to trim the squad, Martin stated “character before talent” will be key when it comes to bringing in fresh faces to shape a successful team.

“With the transfer market stuff, Jason is very much in charge of that, with the ownership group, but he’s keeping me in the loop – we have a lot of conversations about potential players that might come into the club,” he said.

“There will be people leaving, of course, that’s what happens when you have had such a tough season last season, but it’s also not easy. I’ve been there – every player in the dressing room thinks they can go back to the Premier League, but it’s not always that easy.

“The transfer window drags on far too long. Ideally it would shut before the season starts, so we might even end up in a position where we have players playing for us who still end up leaving, so it’s our job to navigate through that as smoothly as possible.

“The players that are here, whilst they’re here, the only expectation is to give everything they’ve got for the team, for the club and for themselves. If everyone does that, we’ll have no problem at all. If some people decide that’s not their intention, then they just won’t be part of the group for very long.

“I hope that isn’t a problem. If it is, we’ll navigate our way through that, but in terms of people coming in, I can’t give you any numbers yet – it’s something that has no certainty and can change really quickly.

“I think we’re really well prepared, really clear on player profiles for what the team needs to look like and what they need to bring to the team, and it’ll always be character before talent, I think we’re all agreed on that.

“So far I’ve been really pleased with what we’re discussing, what we’re talking about, and then it’s just being ready for any players that move on; do we need to replace them, can we replace them, and which positions we need cover in without anyone leaving.”