By Harvey Byrne
Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger has responded to interest in star Virgil van Dijk by suggesting the Saints could turn down a £60million bid for the centre-back.
A number of clubs have been heavily linked with a move for the 25-year-old Holland international following his starring displays on the south coast.
One of those teams is Merseyside giants Liverpool and Read Liverpool claimed earlier in the month that the Reds were closing in on his signature after the defender held talks with manager Jurgen Klopp.
But, Southampton chief Krueger has responded to such reports, stating that his side do not need to sell and are in a position where they can turn down mega offers for their star.
“Can we? Yes. We do not need to sell anybody,” told Krueger, as quoted by the Sky Sports website when asked if Southampton could turn down £60million for Van Dijk.
“Here we sit in the summer of ’17 and we now have 18 top, or above average, Premier League players under three or more year contracts.
“We actually have 12 players that have more than four years, so 49 months, left on their contract and even a couple with 61 months.
“So 18 players having more than three years, gives us control over the summer for the first time.
“We will decide if anybody goes and we will decide who comes in, in the best interests of the club. We do not need to sell any player for the first time since I’ve been here.
“I can make that statement and – unless football decides it’s in the best interests – we don’t need to do that.”
Van Dijk agreed a contract at Southampton taking him up until 2022 last May after less than a year at the club following his £13million move from Celtic in the summer of 2015.
He has since became one of the Premier League’s best defenders, starring in 55 matches for the Saints in England’s top-flight and has been a huge miss for Claude Puel’s side in recent months following a reckless challenge from Leicester forward Jamie Vardy in January which has ruled him out for the season.
He will now be looking to make his return to first team action in the new season and while Southampton fans will be hoping he will still be with their side, Liverpool supporters will be urging their side to make a move for the Dutchman.
In other Liverpool transfer news, the Reds are joint favourites to sign this 30-time capped international.