Date: 29th November 2016 at 7:11pm
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Claude Puel admits he hopes defender Virgil van Dijk will stay at Southampton for at least another two or three years, despite reported interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Everton, according to the Daily Echo.

After an impressive start to the 2016-17 campaign with the Saints, the Netherlands international has been linked with a move to several Premier League rivals ahead of the forthcoming January transfer window.

But at this afternoon’s press conference, boss Puel said, “For me it’s just speculation because Virgil is happy here.

“He improve and it’s important he continues this work.

“Of course if he can stay two or three years more at Southampton it will be fantastic.

Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Saints manager Puel – Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

“We will see the future but it’s a good club, with calm and quality he can play good football and we can play this football and technical, collective, all this game give him possibilities to see his qualities and it’s a fantastic player.

“His technical qualities, his physical level and calm and self-control and on the ground. It’s difficult to find other centre backs with a lot of qualities.

“It’s important he continues this work like other players.”

The 25-year-old, who has 12 international caps for his country, has scored one goal in 18 appearances in all competitions for the Saints so far this season.

Van Dijk, who arrived at St Mary’s Stadium from Scottish Premiership champions Celtic back in September 2015 for a reported £13m, only signed a new six-year deal with Southampton back in May and is said to be worth around £40m.
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