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Poch in dark over summer funds
Southampton are yet to decide whether to invest in an all-out assault on a Barclays Premier League top-six finish next season, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Pochettino said the south-coast club's board are yet to inform him of his transfer-fund war chest for next term.
The unfazed former Argentina defender said most clubs will delay their transfer planning for next season until after this summer's World Cup in Brazil.
Former Espanyol boss Pochettino feels Saints must examine the approach of the Premier League's upper echelon in order to break into the league's elite.
"We're working as we always do on the organisation for next season. We're working on the pre-season, looking at the make-up of the squad and what players will be in that next season," he said.
"We've still got three to four weeks of the season to go and then after that we will be able to focus a lot more on what the future of this club is going to be.
"It's also true that at this moment in time I don't have information about what kind of funds will be made available to me for the summer. I don't have that information yet."
Saints defender Luke Shaw is thought to be edging ever closer to a summer move to Manchester United.
Both Southampton's board and manager have refused to countenance such talk at this stage, with Pochettino saying the club's top bosses will have the final say on the 18-year-old's long-term future.
Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger and Pochettino know the summer will be as much about recruitment as retention, even though question marks remain about the future of the manager and several top stars at the club.
Pochettino admitted he is in the dark as to when the board will inform him of his transfer budget for summer squad building.
"I don't know," he said. "I think the club will decide when they want to let me know that, but I don't know at this time.
"This season we're improving standards again, finishing higher than we did last season. It's moving upwards all the time.
"But to break that barrier of eighth position we'll need to look at what other clubs are doing, in the Europa League and Champions League.
"We need to look at how they are managing that, and then we'll look at how we go about breaking that barrier of eighth position.
"You need to look at other teams, to look at other teams above us, to look at average salaries and budgets.
"You only need five minutes to look at their plans and budgets, and then look down on how we are too."
He continued: "We'll assess as we can at the end of the season, and we'll be able to see whether we want to finish, eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth or fourth.
"According to that, we'll be able to decide what goals we're imposing on ourselves, how that set-up is achieved and how we go about achieving those goals.
"If you look at last season we finished our last game of the season against Stoke, and if you look at the timeline of everything happening, you will see that the signings and decisions were made later on.
"If you look at this season it will be an even longer summer because of the World Cup, and we'll have a longer time to make those decisions as well."