Chairman Ralph Krueger insisted Southampton do not have to sell any of their star players, adding they are in a position to turn down a £60million offer for captain Virgil van Dijk.
Dutch defender Van Dijk continues to be linked with a move away from Southampton as Premier League duo Manchester City and Liverpool reportedly circle.
The 25-year-old, however, will not be sold according to Krueger, who is determined to keep the core of Southampton’s squad together, having lost Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane, Nathaniel Clyne, Calum Chambers, Victor Wanyama, Morgan Schneiderlin and even manager Mauricio Pochettino in recent seasons.
“Can we? Yes. We do not need to sell anybody,” Krueger said when asked if Southampton could turn down £60m for Van Dijk ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Manchester United.
“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.
“I think that we’re moving into a new era at Southampton Football Club after three-and-a-half years of building this foundation of depth, where we have more than 25 players that can play a Premier League game.
“We now need to consolidate. We’re going to do everything possible to keep the core in place because the one thing that has been lacking here is developing synergies within the squad because of the changes.
“It has been difficult to maintain the synergies we would see at times during the season.
“I think that’s one of the reasons we would like to keep the core in place to give the synergies an opportunity, and we are extremely hungry to push back into Europe next year. It is our obsession.”
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