Football: Southampton issue Virgil van Dijk hands-off warning

Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk will remain highly sought after in the transfer window despite the club's protestations.
Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk will remain highly sought after in the transfer window despite the club's protestations.PHOTO: REUTERS

London (AFP) - Southampton have warned clubs interested in Virgil van Dijk that the Netherlands international defender is not for sale at any price.

Van Dijk saw a potential move to Liverpool fall through earlier in the close-season after the Reds were forced to apologise for their pursuit of the imposing centre-back after the Saints complained to the Premier League about tapping up.

Southampton recently appointed new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to replace the sacked Claude Puel and the club's executive director Les Reed has moved to end the pursuit of van Dijk.

Reed was also quick to quash talk of selling Portugal international right-back Cedric Soares, who has been linked with Everton, Tottenham and Barcelona.

"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," Reed told Sky Sports News on Wednesday.

"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."