Feyenoord eager to keep Southampton-linked Tonny Vilhena

Ronald Koeman

Southampton's Ronald Koeman has been linked with a raid on his former employers Feyenoord for Tonny Vilhena, but the Dutch side are reluctant to sell.

Managers are always going to be linked with raids on former employers when they move on to pastures new, and Ronald Koeman is no different.

The Dutchman took the reins at Southampton last summer, having stepped down as boss at Eredivisie side Feyenoord.

He returned to a market he knew well to land the likes of Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic, and has seen that business deliver handsome rewards.

It is being suggested during the January transfer window that Koeman may be tempted to tread a similar path, with his sights turned back to the ranks in Rotterdam.

Tonny Vilhena is a player he knows well, and one he made a key part of his midfield unit during his time at De Kuip.

The 20-year-old recently expressed a desire to move on after struggling for game under Koeman’s successor Fred Rutten and was immediately linked with a switch to St Mary’s.

Feyenoord are, however, reluctant to part with the Holland U21 international and hope he can be convinced to stay put.

Rutten said in Voetbal International: “He knows I value him. I hope that everyone stays here.

“This is the first time in his career that he finds himself in this situation. It is annoying, but that is part of the development of Feyenoord. We have grown as a club and competition for places is part of that, it’s simple.

“He is training well and has been a true professional.”

Southampton may be tempted to test Feyenoord’s resolve, though, as they are planning for the present and future.

Speculation suggesting that Morgan Schneiderlin will soon be on his way out of the club refuses to go away, so a long-term replacement will be needed in the middle of the park.

A January switch for Vilhena would make sense, as he would get half a season to find his feet in England before becoming an important part of the SaintsPremier League plans in 2015/16.

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