Puel backs van Dijk to remain a Saint for years 81
Claude Puel hopes that Virgil van Dijk will remain a Saints player for at least another two or three years.
The Dutch centre half has been on sensational form this season, leading to speculation that he could be the subject of a £50m bid in January with the likes of Manchester City said to be weighing up an offer.
Saints are unlikely to sell in the January transfer window, as has been their way over the past few seasons, but Puel hinted they could still resist bids in the summer too.
From a business point of view, Puel reckons that van Dijk’s value is unlikely to fall if he stays with the club for another couple of seasons at least.
He said: “I think for Virgil the price will be the same in two or three years and he can stay two or three years with us.
“He’s an important player for us, for the team with a good spirit.
“With Jose Fonte and Davis and also Virgil for me is a captain for the team.
“He has good personality, strong personality and quality and is an important player for us.
“Of course, he stay with us.”
Saints’ squad have gathered at Staplewood after three days off to start preparations for a festive triple header against Tottenham, West Brom and Everton.
With their next game not until Wednesday, the players will be allowed the rare luxury of Christmas day off to spend with their families.
Puel insisted he trusts his players to look after themselves and not to overindulge.
“I know it’s a particular period with Boxing Day and Christmas and New Year but I have confidence with all my squad, all my players, because they know the most important is to stay fit and good possibilities to play three games in a short time,” he said.
“It’s important also to pass good time with friends and family and it’s very important.
“They can do the good balance between a good moment with their family and to think also to make a good game.”
Puel has made no firm decisions with regards his team selection over the festive period, but will be implementing his rotation policy to combat three games in six days.
“I think we have possibilities to change the team,” he admitted.
“It was difficult sometimes for people to understand this but it’s not the first time we have to play every two or three days.
“We play in this short moment since the beginning of the season.
“It’s important for this period to make the same thing and keep every player for the good fit and possibility every time to play good football and have good balance on the team every time with technical players, good possibilities to win this game.
“This is not new for us.”