Mauricio Pellegrino has attributed Southampton's lack of transfer activity in January to being priced out of deals, and lamented the inflated transfer fees which exist in the modern market.
Southampton sold defender Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool for £75m at the start of January, but didn't spend even a third of that money. The Saints' only arrival in the transfer window was striker Guido Carillo, joining from Spartak Moscow for £19.2m.
This has caused some discord among Southampton fans, who are understandably concerned about the club's Premier League future, as they currently sit 18th in the top-flight. But Pellegrino defended the club's transfer policy, and said that they were simply unlucky.
"I think we were prepared. The question is in our targets, we couldn't bring our targets," said the Argentinean, quoted by TalkSPORT.
"Some of them because it was too expensive for us, some of them because they (other clubs) don't want to accept our bids."
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Pellegrino also blamed the current state of the transfer market for the over-inflated fees that Southampton were unable to compete with.
Paul Pogba joined Manchester United for a then-world record fee of £89m in 2016, before Paris Saint-Germain smashed that record to sign Neymar a year later for £198m. Philippe Coutinho's transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona last month was the first time a nine-figure fee has been paid to an English club.
"The market I think in the last two years change a lot, from Pogba, from Neymar, I think the transfer fees are massive," said Pellegrino.
"When you think about now the transfer fees of the players, it's difficult to bring good players, good quality and that can play in the Premier League, that's difficult."
Southampton face West Brom at the Hawthorns on Saturday in a huge six-pointer at the bottom of the league.