Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has played down reports that Gaston Ramirez is set to return to Serie A.

The Uruguayan playmaker only joined the newly promoted Premier League side during the summer, in a £12m deal from Bologna.

However, he has struggled to reach the heights expected of him upon his arrival at St Mary’s Stadium, with a series of niggling injuries limiting his first-team opportunities.

This has led to rumours he could make a return to Italy, with Fiorentina and AC Milan both interested in the 22-year-old.

But, Pochettino, who recently took control of the Saints, has cooled talk that his attacking midfielder is set to leave:

“Fiorentina and AC Milan interested in Ramirez? It’s normal because Gaston is a young and strong player who is proving at Southampton he can rise to the occasion.” He is quoted by Sky Sports via tuttomercato.

The Argentine also confirmed that he was keen to bring Philippe Coutinho to the club during January.

But, he elected to join Liverpool in an £8.5m deal, disappointing Pochettino who had been in charge of the youngster at Espanyol last season:

“I often spoken with him in the last weeks of January. I had him last year at Espanyol, I know him well. But eventually he went to Liverpool.”

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