Southampton to keep Virgil van Dijk and Cedric Soares after agreement with Mauricio Pellegrino

Virgil van Dijk in action for Southampton against West Bromwich Albion at St Mary's
Image: Virgil van Dijk is one of Southampton's most in-demand players

Southampton are refusing to sell any of their top players this summer after agreeing with new manager Mauricio Pellegrino that the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Cedric Soares would remain at the club.

Dutch defender Van Dijk was part of a transfer wrangle with Liverpool last month that saw the Reds forced to apologise and drop their interest in the player, who the Saints value at over £70m.

Fresh newspaper reports have also claimed Soares is of interest to Everton and Tottenham - even Barcelona - but Southampton will not make the right-back available.

Executive director Les Reed told Sky Sports News HQ: "None of those players are for sale. I can't make it any plainer than that and that's the way we mean to go forward.

"We built this squad over some time and think we have a strong squad. We will fine-tune it but, other than that, we are looking forward to a very competitive season next year and we plan to go forward on that basis.

"There may be players that go on the basis it is the right thing for them and the club at that given time, but we don't expect that to be wholesale and this is simply doing sound business in the transfer window.

Cedric Soares in action for Southampton
Image: Cedric Soares has also been linked with a move away from St Mary's

"We track players over years and when the new manager comes in like Mauricio, we take him through that process. He'd done his homework on our squad and we don't believe we need to turn over players every year just to freshen things up.

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"We've got a strong squad now and it would be about adding players bringing more value and power. It's not broken so there is no need to bring in players just because of fashion or to get people excited in the transfer market."

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Sky Sports News HQ understands that Tottenham have two top targets should Kyle Walker leave for Manchester City this summer and Soares is not one of them.

Sky sources reported earlier this month that one of those options is Porto's Ricardo Pereira, while they have scouted the likes of Mitchell Weiser, Andrea Conti and Davide Zappacosta.

Pereira has been tracked by Spurs scouts throughout his two-season loan spell at French club Nice, which ended last month, and he is reported to have a £22m release clause in his contract.

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