By Harvey Byrne
Southampton will only entertain eye watering offers for Everton targets Charlie Austin and Jose Fonte, according to a report.
Hampshire publication the Daily Echo claims that the Saints do not want to sell defender Fonte, 32, or striker Austin, 27, and have not received bids for either player.
It is said they remain optimistic that Fonte will sign an improved contract at the club, while there hasn’t yet been any firm interest for Austin.
This follows claims from the Sun that Ronald Koeman had targeted a £9million move for Fonte as he eyed a replacement for England international John Stones, who joined Manchester City earlier this summer for £47.5million.
Meanwhile, The Evening Standard reported on Monday that Koeman had lined up a move for his former Saints striker Austin.
However, it is claimed that the Hampshire-based club remain determined to keep their current squad intact, and only eye watering offers would even be entertained, certainly far in excess of the £9million being quoted for the Portuguese defender.
One of the first acts from Koeman at the Saints was hand the captaincy to the Portuguese defender Fonte after Adam Lallana departed for Liverpool.
The former Barcelona star also brought Austin to the south coast in a £4million move last January from QPR, but due to injuries the proficient scorer has only played eight games for the Saints, with two starts.
Both stars were restricted to bench starts in the Hampshire club’s opening match against Watford on Saturday with Austin making an 83rd minute appearance.
It is believed that Fonte was given time to take a holiday after his Euro 2016 winning exploits with Portugal and that he wasn’t considered quite ready, despite fellow countryman Cedric Soares starting the match at right-back.
Southampton remain hopeful that Fonte will sign a new pay rise to show his significance to the side, but he won’t receive an extension, which expires in two-years due to his age.
Everton have looked to add Premier League experience to their squad this summer with the additions of Yannick Bolasie, Ashley Williams, Maarten Stekelenburg and Idrissa Gueye, but it seems as though Koeman’s two former players won’t be named alongside the incoming transfers this window.
In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees have been installed as the favourites to sign Liverpool outcast Christian Benteke.