When Mauricio Pochettino took the decision to leave Southampton over the summer and link up with their Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur, it was inevitable that he would look to raid the St Mary’s ranks for top talent at some stage.
As it happens, he was a little late to the transfer party during the last window, with Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal snapping up Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers.
With the south coast playing staff decimated, the exit door was then bolted in an effort to give incoming coach Ronald Koeman the best possible chance to rebuild.
Morgan Schneiderlin was a top target for Pochettino before being informed by his current employers that he was going nowhere, while Jay Rodriguez earned England recognition while working under Pochettino’s careful guidance.
Both are expected to be targeted by the White Hart Lane outfit in the New Year, but Southampton executive director Les Reed has warned Tottenham, and any other side looking at the pair, that they are starting to realise that the grass is not always greener and that something special is being pieced together by Koeman.
He told Sky Sports News: “I think there will be interest from a number of quarters for a number of our players and Morgan and Jay will be amongst that.
“But I think for a lot of our players, because we are doing so well, I don’t think in terms of moving clubs and what would interest them, I’m pretty confident there aren’t many clubs outside of Southampton that would interest our players at the moment - because we’re doing so well and they believe there is a bright future.”
While looking to rule out high-profile departures, Reed also believes there will be little recruitment activity at St Mary’s over the coming weeks.
He added: “We are happy with the squad, it’s very well settled. We don’t anticipate doing anything spectacular in the January window. We feel we’ve got strength in depth.”
Southampton fans will be pleased to hear that their club are ready to fend off any advances for their prized assets, but they may still be a little anxious heading towards the end of the calendar year.
After all, few could have predicted the mass exodus of talent over the summer.
What if big-money offers are tabled once more? Can the Saints afford to turn down lucrative bids? Can they afford to accept them if they want to remain in the race for a top-four finish?
Will Schneiderlin and Rodriguez rock the boat if others come calling and can they be persuaded to stay on if their heads are turned?
All important questions and ones Reed, Koeman and the rest of the Southampton board and coaching staff will need to address if they are to reach the end of January with positivity still flowing.