LONDON (Reuters) - Southampton manager Ronald Koeman will continue to scour his native Netherlands to strengthen his squad, the Dutchman told a news conference on Thursday.
Koeman’s decision to sign Eljero Elia on loan from Werder Bremen has already paid dividends, with the Dutch striker scoring both goals against Newcastle United last weekend to keep Southampton in third place in the Premier League.
Koeman says more could follow.
”I have (my eyes) on several young players, but not now, for next season, of course.
“It’s a philosophy of this club to work with young players and there are some good young ones in Holland. They know the language and they can adapt in a fast way to the Premier League,” he told reporters.
”We know that the Dutch league is not the best in Europe but young players can develop themselves to play every weekend and that is what young players need.
“We have a fantastic school in Holland for young players, but sometimes they leave Holland too fast because they need more experience. But we have enough talent in Holland and importantly they know the way how I like to play with the team.”
Elia will be in the squad for this Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie at home to Crystal Palace, when Koeman will resist the temptation to rest any players to keep them fresh for their unlikely pursuit of a Champions League place.
“Of course, the Premier League is the most important competition, but I believe in winning, that’s the best medicine,” Koeman told a news conference.
”I‘m lucky that I don’t have a lot of numbers of players to think about making changes. We’ll put out the strongest team that we can. We’ve had some days off this week and the players are back in freshness.
“We had a great week last week with good results in difficult games, and we’d like to go on.”
Southampton will be without the likes of first-team regulars Toby Alderweireld, Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin against Palace on Saturday, although he hopes all should return within a couple of weeks to help maintain Saints’ league push.
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar