Ronald Koeman continues to insist Southampton will rebuff any bids for reported Manchester United and Chelsea target Sadio Mane in January.
Saints boss Koeman has vowed “we will sell nobody” in the January transfer window, despite persistent talk Manchester United are lining up a bid for Mane. Chelsea have also been credited with an interest in the forward.
The 23-year-old joined Southampton from Red Bull Salzburg last term and has quickly caught the attention.
Southampton remain confident they can fend off any mid-season bids, but could still wind up losing one of their key assets in the summer.
“Rumours aren’t important: we will sell nobody,” said Koeman.
“You can ask again about Sadio, Man United, Chelsea, but we will sell nobody in January.”
Southampton’s impressive Premier League stabilisation under Mauricio Pochettino only ended with a host of raids on the club’s top talent.
Koeman has since fought to stem that tide, though France midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin still joined Manchester United last summer.
Koeman believes Saints can still bolster their profile enough to allow developing stars to progress at the same rate as the club.
But the 52-year-old admitted the lure of Champions League football and top global tests still remain a sticking to point to convincing serious talents to commit to mid-level clubs in the long-term.
“That’s great, if it’s really like that, it’s great,” said Koeman over the interest from others in Mane.
“Because the player is developing himself, with all the help from the technical staff and the rest of the players.
“But it’s the reason why the team and the club is growing, and why we have 18 international players.
“They are showing qualities, and then of course big teams are interested.
“It’s a normal progress of players who are developing themselves.
“In my opinion it’s not about money, it’s about ambition of players and people.
“Of course we don’t play in the Champions League and we don’t fight for the title, and that’s a normal ambition for players to reach the highest level possible.”