Southampton have issued a hands off warning for any potential suitors interested in signing defender Virgil van Dijk in the off season.
Van Dijk’s performances at the heart of manager Claude Puel’s defence has attracted the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, who see him as an ideal signing to reinforce their defensive options for next season.
However, the Saints chairman Ralph Krueger has insisted the club will reject all bids – speculated to be up to £60 million – for their star player.
“Can we? Yes. We do not need to sell anybody,” Krueger was quoted by FourFourTwo ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Manchester United.
“Here we sit in the summer of ’17 and we now have 18 top, or above average, Premier League players under three or more year contracts.
“We actually have 12 players that have more than four years, so 49 months, left on their contracts and even a couple with 61 months. So 18 players having more than three years, gives us control over the summer for the first time,”
“We will decide if anybody goes and we will decide who comes in, in the best interest of the club. We do not need to sell any player for the time since I’ve been here,” he said.
“I can make that statement and – unless football decides it’s in the best interest – we don’t need to do that,” he added.
“I think that we’re moving into a new era at Southampton Football Club after three-and-a-half years of building this foundation of depth, where we have more than 25 players that can play a Premier League game.”
Over the years, Southampton have had to watch the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United plunder the club for their best players as Luke Shaw, Morgan Schneiderlin, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Sadio Mane.