Southampton boss Claude Puel says the club’s hierarchy do not want to sell £50million-rated Virgil van Dijk this summer.
The 25-year-old, who signed from Celtic for £13million in 2015, has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea as Antonio Conte looks for a replacement for John Terry.
Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal are also believed to be tracking the centre-back, who has been injured since the start of the year with an ankle problem.
Reports today suggest any prospective deal for the player could top £100million, with his fee set to be around £50million and his potential £200,000 a week wages over five years coming in at over £50million.
Saints boss Puel is confident of keeping the Dutchman and says the board do not want to sell.
“It was a bad injury for him and for us,” said Puel.
“Then after Jose Fonte left (for West Ham) it was difficult for us. It’s been a good thing to see Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida play together in their place. But for Virgil it was a bad injury.
“Now the surgery is finished he can work normally and be ready for next season – with us.
“He’s our captain and I have said he is important for us. He has authority, the leadership of the team, he is a fantastic player.
“It’s important for us, of course, to wait until the beginning of the season to see him on the pitch with Southampton.
“He has a long contract and the directors want to keep him.”