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Claude Puel: Virgil van Dijk to play for Southampton next season

Big words from the Frenchman, though I can't help but think this won't be the case.

Norwich City v Southampton - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk is set to stay at the club for next season according to manager Claude Puel in his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal's visit to St. Mary's.

The towering Dutchman, who has a contract at the club until 2022, has been linked to a whole host of clubs including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Wednesday's opponents Arsenal.

Speaking to the press in attendance, Puel confirmed van Dijk was making good progress on the ankle injury which ruled him out of the season from January.

But, the most notable thing Puel said was how van Dijk is expected to not leave Southampton in the summer transfer window [H/T Sky Sports (with video)], telling reporters: "He is our captain. He is important for us.

"He is a fantastic player. We will wait until the beginning of the season to see him again on the pitch. He has a long contract and I think the directors want to keep him".

The reporters put Puel on the spot. And given his fairly limited command of English (his English is a lot better than my French, mind), I am not treating his word as gospel.

Let's face it, it's not his decision to make—if the reported £50million+ is offered for van Dijk's services, our sell-happy board would be more than happy to discuss terms with any suitors.