Cortese left the club last season after being pushed out by owner Katharina Liebherr, and insists the likes of Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana would not be leaving the club if he was still at St. Mary’s.
Shaw is reportedly close to a £27million move to Manchester United, while Lallana is pushing for a move to Liverpool.
And Cortese has revealed offers never came in for the club’s youngsters while he was there because everyone knew he wasn’t prepared to sell.
He said: “We created those talents. It was key to keep them.
“You don’t produce them just to sell, otherwise you give away your ambition.
“I didn’t have written offers, but I obviously had phone calls. My answer was that it was not going to happen for at least the next two seasons. The other chairmen respected that. Until the day I left, there were no offers.”
And Cortese also admits the clubs’ academy products would not be so open to a move had he remained at the Saints.
“I knew the players themselves wanted to stick together because this vision was something they believed in, too,” he added.
“I didn’t see any reason for them to go.”