Portuguese defender Jose Fonte was one the Premier League's best performers last season, excelling for Southampton.
SkySports have reported that he is attracting interest from Aston Villa, who have money to spend after selling striker Christian Benteke.
Villa could still do with another centre-back to replace Ron Vlaar, who let his contract expire this summer and has since got injured, after a disappointing campaign for the club.
Fonte's performances last season compared to Vlaar's showed one clear winner.
|Team||Won Tackles per game||Interceptions Won per game||Aerial Duels won per game||Passing Accuracy||Shots Blocked per game||Appearances|
|Ron Vlaar||Aston Villa||0.55||2.05||1.2||82%||0.45||20|
Fonte came out on top in five key areas; tackles won, interceptions won, aerial duels won, pass completion rate, and shots blocked - all on a per game basis.
Understandably Southampton are resistant to selling the defender. Manager Ronald Koeman told a press conference on Thursday, as reported SkySports, that Fonte was not for sale.
He said: "I don't know if he is a target for other clubs but he is our captain, he's a very strong defender, he's a club man like Kelvin Davis and I don't have one second in my mind to sell that player.
"He is part of the team. There's no way to sell the player."
Southampton have of course been in this situation before, with Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana for instance, and even this summer with Morgan Schneiderlin.
The difference here is Aston Villa finished below them in the league last season and do not have as much money as a Liverpool or Manchester United to spend, while the Saints can offer Europa League football.