Southampton have insisted that none of their key players, including in-demand defender Virgil van Dijk, will be sold this summer following the appointment of Mauricio Pellegrino as the club’s new manager.
Van Dijk has been consistently linked with a move away from St Mary’s since the turn of the year and was at the centre of a controversial pursuit by Liverpool earlier this month.
The 25-year-old met Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, to discuss a prospective transfer despite Southampton receiving no official approach from Anfield for his services.
Southampton subsequently filed a complaint to the Premier League, which forced Liverpool to apologise for “any misunderstanding” and withdraw their interest in the player.
Van Dijk’s future remains uncertain, with Chelsea interested in moving for the Holland international, while right-back Cedric Soares has also been linked with a move away from the south coast.
However, Southampton’s executive director Les Reed has now denied that either player will leave during the current transfer window.
“None of those players are for sale,” he told Sky Sports News. “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.
Reed added: “We track players over years and when the new manager comes in like Mauricio, we take him through that process. He’d done his homework on our squad and we don’t believe we need to turn over players every year just to freshen things up.”
Southampton appointed Pellegrino as Claude Puel’s successor last week. The Argentinian has signed a three-year contract at St Mary’s after leaving La Liga outfit Alaves.
Pellegrino, a former Liverpool defender and coach, guided Alaves to the Copa del Rey final last season only to lose 3-1 to holders Barcelona.