Southampton manager Claude Puel has reaffirmed his stance that neither Jose Fonte or Virgil van Dijk will be leaving the club in the January window.
Portugal international, Fonte, has been linked with a move to join his compatriot Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, with his future at St. Mary’s far from certain – having not played a minute of the Saints’ Europa League campaign this term, despite being captain.
His defensive partner, former Celtic man, van Dijk has, it would appear, been linked with almost the entire top half of the Premier League ahead of the winter window, with Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola seemingly top of that list.
However, speaking ahead of his side’s New Year’s Eve fixture against West Brom, the former Nice manager said;
“I think Jose is a little particular with his contract with Southampton. Virgil is a very important player for us,”
“He stays here and it will be important with Virgil to continue this work and to go up on the table.
“For me it’s not another idea, another view, with Virgil.”
When pressed on whether or not the defensive duo would still be at the club come February, the Frenchman said; “Yes of course.”
Although the Saints have been shy in front of goal so far this term, having scored 18 goals in as many Premier League games, their defensive form has remained solid, as it has been for the last few seasons, something which is largely down to the strong partnership of van Dijk and Fonte.