Despite intense speculation of a move away from Southampton, Virgil van Dijk is in the club’s plans for the season.
Chelsea and Liverpool have been strongly linked with the Dutchman all summer and many expected him to be on his way out of St Mary’s.
Wesley Hoedt’s arrival at the club from Lazio looked like it would see Van Dijk move on, yet Saints have claimed that they are planning for the campaign with the defender at the club.
Following on from Hoedt’s £15million transfer from Serie A, Les Reed, Southampton’s vice chairman, has confirmed that Van Dijk is likely to remain on the south coast beyond the transfer window.
“Finding a naturally left-footed player is even more difficult,” said Reed. “We have been tracking central defenders on our target list for the past 12 months and Wesley has always been at the top of that list, so it was important to act when the opportunity came.
“Wesley has proven his talent through his performances for Lazio, as well as the Netherlands, and we believe he can develop even further here at Southampton, alongside his international team-mate Virgil van Dijk, as well as the likes of Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida, Jan Bednarek and Florin Gardos.
“With Wesley joining those players, we believe we have the right amount of quality, depth and flexibility at centre-back to help us achieve our aims this season.”
Van Dijk is now odds-on at 8/11 with SkyBet to stay at Southampton beyond the transfer deadline.
Liverpool are 6/4 to sign the defender, while Chelsea are 6/1 to make a move for the highly-rated Dutchman.