In recent summers, Southampton fans have had to get used to selling off their best and brightest. More often than not it’s to Liverpool, who are again rumoured to be sniffing around the south coast club and current captain Vigil van Dijk.
The 25-year-old has established himself as a star this season, and that has led to links to a move away, with Liverpool and both Manchester clubs rumoured to be interested. The most consistent links, though, have been to Anfield.
In recent years, Southampton have lost Sadio Mané to Liverpool. And they’ve lost Nathaniel Clyne. And Adam Lallana. And Dejan Lovren. Could losing van Dijk be what comes next? Not according to the club’s chairman, who’s drawing a line in the sand.
"We are just out of the January transfer window and are striving to keep this group together and to build on it,” chairman Ralph Krueger told TalkSport today. “Virgil is very committed us for a long time and we don’t see anything but that in our future.
“He is our team captain and we don’t see him anywhere else than in red and white stripes. We don’t want to do what we did in the last three summers every year. We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter.”
That’s a very different approach already for the Saints, who in recent years have mostly dragged their feet over how much they’ll sell for rather than if they’ll sell at all, and it sends a clear message to fans who have become increasingly frustrated by a willingness to sell.
It could also be bad news for Liverpool if, as has been rumoured in recent months, van Dijk is the club’s top choice to partner with Joël Matip heading into next season.