When claims first started coming from Italy of Inter Milan interest in Cedric Soares, and the move started to look like it would be really happening, there was a claim Southampton were looking at Joakim Maehle to replace him.
Then it was reported in Belgium that the Premier League club had made an offer worth around €11.5m. Genk knocked it back, despite the amount being a big deal in Belgian football, clearly feeling they may be able to get more for the Denmark international in the summer window or beyond.
Maehle has been speaking to Het Belang van Limburg about the offer, and the Belgian newspaper put it to him that, for the money Southampton put forward, more than 20 luxury houses could be built in Belgium.
The footballer laughed, and replied: “In Denmark you’d also get that done well. It is difficult to grasp, it also remains virtual. I do not think too much about it, the money itself is not the most important thing at this moment of my career. I know that many people will be surprised. In Denmark they already had wide eyes when Genk paid about €1.3m for me.”
Asked if the amount surprised him, Maehle said: “Yes and no. This is hard to grasp but I know from myself that I am taking steps forward. What’s more, the team is doing well: we are leading and attracting attention. KRC Genk is a club with a very good name in Europe, many top talents have already left for big clubs. These aspects all have an influence on value in the player market.”
Speaking well, something which stands out with young Danish footballers, the fullback spoke about the missed opportunity: “I’m not going to say that I wasn’t interested. This was a nice proposal from a big club from a top competition. But at the same time I have full understanding of Genk’s point of view. They have also been very clear from the beginning: in this winter market all starters remain on board. I can only respect that. Because let me make it clear: I am still very happy here. (Smiles) I do not grieve but fully focus on the rest of the season. We still have so much to gain.”
Given he came relatively close to signing for Southampton last month, Het Belang van Limburg asked the player if his future is in the Premier League: “We will see that. If I keep on performing, this opportunity definitely needs to happen again. But whether that will be at the same club or in the same competition, you cannot predict now.”
This is almost certainly one Southampton will be keeping an eye on.