Southgate: Club before players
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gareth Southgate insists Middlesbrough are bigger than any player.
Gareth Southgate insists that even if Middlesbrough lose the likes of Mark Viduka and Jonathan Woodgate the club will get over it.
Southgate has once again underlined his desire to see both former Leeds men extend their spells at The Riverside, but insists life does not, and should not, stop if a big name departs a football club.
"I want both Woody and Dooks to stay, but you have to be philosophical about it," he told the club's website.
"Players do move on, they come and go, so if we can't keep them we have to replace them with quality.
"When I was a player at Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, I moved on. I wasn't as good a player as either Woodgate or Viduka but I was captain at both clubs, but they got over my departure.
"Life goes on when players leave. The only thing that doesn't change at clubs are the fans."
Southgate is planning for the summer already and is still looking over his squad.
"We want to keep our best players. If we can keep those sort of players it sends out the right sort of message to potential signings that we are a club that does the right things and is moving forward," he said.
"The more good players I have here, then the easier it is to get more quality players to join us.
"I understand that both players want to think about things and consider their options, but they both know we are going in the right direction.
"I think Woody is happy here and he's playing very well, which is always a sign that a player is happy.
"We have to keep showing him that we are doing the right things. Certainly it wouldn't be a good message to him if we allowed the rest of the season to just drift to its end."
Southgate has already talked over his summer plans with chairman Steve Gibson.
"I have a fair idea, although you can never have exact figures because where we finish in the league will have an impact on some of the income as well," he continued.
"The chairman has given me a ballpark figure. I'm comfortable with what he has told me and I know for a club like ours there has to be a balance between investing in the team and improving the facilities and infrastructure.
"If I was told there was no money, I wouldn't see that as a problem. As long as you know the situation, you can develop your own talent or look for free transfers. But it isn't the case that there is no money.
"I know the transfer market is going to be very competitive this summer. The likes of Aston Villa and, if they stay up, West Ham have got substantial funding now, but I got the chairman's support last summer and I'll operate within the budget I have this time.
"It's not just about big fees. Just look at Julio Arca and how well he has done for us without having spent a massive fee on him. I don't want to waste the club's money on players who aren't right for us long-term.
"You have to look at other Premier League teams that might have players available, but you also have to look into the lower divisions too.
"It's not just about players to go straight into your first team. As a club, I think we should be looking to bring in one or two players that we can develop through our reserve system and expect to compete in 18 months' time.
"But there are so many things that can happen. Last summer we were a long way down the line with two or three potential signings that didn't eventually happen.
"There were occasions when the club decided not to sell the player after all or the player decided to stay."
One player who Southgate is thought to be considering as a summer target is Hibernian starlet Scott Brown.
The much-coveted Scottish international has a long list of suitors and Boro are now believed to have joined the race after Southgate watched Brown in action at the weekend.