Chelsea target Virgil van Dijk will stay at Southampton, insists Claude Puel

Claude Puel

Chelsea target Virgil van Dijk will stay at Southampton, insists Claude Puel

Southampton manager Claude Puel has said that he expects Virgil van Dijk to still be at the club next season.

Both Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Arsenal are also keen on the £50m-rated global.

Could it be that Van Dijk's recent injury woe - he is not expected to return before the end of the 2016-17 campaign - could help Southampton retain their most-prized asset?

The 25-year-old, who suffered an ankle injury in January which ruled him out for the remainder of the season, has been linked with a move away from St Mary's.

"Now it's OK. His surgery is finished, he can work normally, he can start in the gym the work to come back for next season, ready for next season with us".

The Frenchman would no doubt prefer to retain a player of Van Dijk's calibre, and his suggestion that the club's directors are eager to keep him on the south coast hardly surprising. He is important for us. He has maturity and leadership in the team.

"It is just to stay focussed about our game, have a good organisation and a good spirit, and when we have the ball to play our football, to try to score and have chances and to develop good football is very important and the mentality with character".

"Then after Jose Fonte left (for West Ham) it was hard for us". We will wait until the beginning of the season to see him again on the pitch.

Saints have three more cracks at it in an action packed finale to the season, which sees them play five games in the space of a fortnight, with Liverpool first up tomorrow.

Manager Claude Puel seems to have derailed any attempt to lure the Dutchman, now out injured, to Anfield by suggesting he will remain at St Mary's next season.

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