Thursday 21 September 2017

Southampton insist Virgil van Dijk is not for sale at any price

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk

Jeremy Wilson

Southampton have attempted to end all doubt about Virgil van Dijk’s immediate future by saying that he is not for sale at any price during this transfer window.

No bids have been made but Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Everton have all been monitoring Van Dijk, who is valued by Southampton in excess of the £50 million fee that Paris St-Germain paid for David Luiz, a world record for a defender.

Van Dijk, 25, signed a six-year contract last summer and Southampton have shown consistently that they are willing to trade their best players once they have identified a replacement.

Southampton would sell unsettled captain Jose Fonte if a significant offer came in this month but they are adamant that Van Dijk will not depart before the summer.

“Virgil is not for the sale,” said ­executive director Les Reed. “We haven’t had any bids and if we got any bids, we wouldn’t consider them because it just doesn’t make sense to think we would release Virgil van Dijk in midseason when we have all still to play for.”

Fonte has submitted a formal ­request to end his seven years at Southampton, although the club have also received no inquiry or ­offer for their captain. The 33-year-old has 18 months left on his deal.

Reed backed manager Claude Puel following a full debrief on the first half of the season. “We have seen this week managers being sacked, often in extraordinary ­circumstances, and maybe because of things they can’t control,” said Reed.

“We picked Claude for a reason, and the main reason being his experience. He has had a lot of experience in European football and that is where we hope to be heading.

“He’s a teacher. He improves players. If you want to go down that route, you give someone time.”

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