Southampton executive director Les Reed has told Sky Sports News that Virgil van Dijk and Cedric Soares are not for sale.
As we all know, Van Dijk has been among the transfer gossip pages since the start of 2017.
Despite missing a large majority of the season with an ankle injury, numerous Premier League clubs, including Liverpool and Chelsea, have been linked with his signature.
Recently, Liverpool publicly apologised and withdrew their interest in Van Dijk after being accused of ‘tapping up’.
A report in The Express last week claimed that Southampton value the centre-back at £70m, but Reed has insisted that he will not be sold, nor will Cedric.
The Portugal Euro 2016 winner is wanted by Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus, while Barcelona see him as a back-up option if they fail to land Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, according to The Mirror.
Reed, though, made the club’s position clear when he told Sky Sports News:
“None of those players are for sale. I can’t make it any plainer than that and that’s the way we mean to go forward.
“We built this squad over some time and think we have a strong squad. We will fine-tune it but, other than that, we are looking forward to a very competitive season next year and we plan to go forward on that basis.“There may be players that go on the basis it is the right thing for them and the club at that given time, but we don’t expect that to be wholesale and this is simply doing sound business in the transfer window.”
From a contractual point of view, yes, because neither player is coming to the end of their deals this summer.
The problem that the Saints face is the minds of the players involved and if they want to move on.
The club may hold the cards, but there is nothing worse for team morale if there is a member in the squad who does not want to be there.
Over the last few summer transfer windows, Southampton have allowed a number of first-team players, including Adam Lallana, Victor Wanyama, Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren, to leave.
Reed’s stern statement is the right way to approach this situation as the Saints do not want to continue to be known as a selling club.
If they want to build and become a solid force in the Premier League, then they need to keep their best players.