Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has told a press conference that he has no intention of selling Jose Fonte, as posted by the club's official Twitter account.
Koeman has already lost two defenders this summer in Nathaniel Clyne and Toby Alderweireld, who joined Liverpool and Tottenham respectively - and now reports suggest he could see another defender sign for a Premier League rival.
Sky Sports reported earlier today that Aston Villa had opened talks over a deal to sign Portuguese international Fonte, with Tim Sherwood looking for a veteran defender to replace Ron Vlaar.
Fonte, 31, has been a mainstay of the Southampton team during their rise from League One to the Premier League, and his impressive displays in the top flight now appear to have attracted admiring glances.
However, manager Koeman was adamant that Saints skipper Fonte would not be leaving the club this summer, even suggesting that there is 'no way' they will sell the player.
"I don't know if he is a target for another club," said Koeman when asked about Aston Villa's interest in the player. "He is our captain, he is a very strong defender, he's a club man, like Kelvin Davis. I don't have one second in my mind to sell that player. He is part of the team, he is the captain. No, there is no way to sell the player," he added.
Villa have already signed Micah Richards this summer, but the loss of experienced centre back Vlaar earlier this summer leaves Sherwood in need of a wily veteran in the heart of his defence.
Fonte would certainly fit the bill, but Southampton are understandably desperate to keep him at the club having lost Clyne, Alderweireld, Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw, Morgan Schneiderlin, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert in just over a year.
The Saints need to try and keep their best players at the club in order to continue their progress under Koeman - and Fonte is very much an integral part of their plans, which may force Villa to look elsewhere.