Southampton boss Claude Puel hoping Virgil van Dijk will stay

Southampton manager Claude Puel

The Saints defender has been linked with a big money move away from the South coast club.

Southampton boss Claude Puel hopes star defender Virgil van Dijk will stay with the club, despite being linked with a big name move away over the past few weeks. The Frenchman told the Saints' official website that he hoped the stability at the club will help convince the Dutch centre-back to stay on the South coast for the foreseeable future.

Southampton manager Claude Puel and Virgil van DijkSouthampton manager Claude Puel and Virgil van Dijk

Over the last 12 months, van Dijk has formed arguably the strongest central-defensive partnership in the Premier League with Jose Fonte at Southampton, keeping five clean sheets this term.

van Dijk himself has won rave reviews since his arrival from Celtic in August of last year, but Puel is confident that the position of the club both financially and in league status, will be enough to persuade the Dutchman his future lies at St. Marys'.

Puel stated on the Southampton website: "He's developed very well since the beginning of the season with responsibilities. He's physical, he's technical since the beginning of the season."

Southampton's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring their first goalSouthampton's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring their first goal

Since making the switch from The Hoops on deadline day of last September, the former FC Groningen defender has blossomed into one of Europe's top defenders; a menace at both ends of the pitch.

Now an established member of Danny Blind's Dutch national side, van Dijk has reached 12 caps in the space of just over a year.

Virgil van Dijk's versatility was realised as an aerial colossus at set-pieces, scoring nine times in two seasons at Celtic Park. van Dijk then notched three goals in over 3000 minutes of league football last season for the Saints - but is yet to score this term.

A man with an eye for goal, the 25 year-old has became an ever-reliable physical presence for both Ronald Koeman last year and now Claude Puel.

Virgil van Dijk during his time at CelticVirgil van Dijk during his time at Celtic

In recent days, the Dutchman has been linked with a reunion with his former boss by the Daily Mirror, with other top clubs domestically and in Europe surely tracking his progress too.

Puel however remains quietly confident his defender will remain with Southampton, citing a stable footballing life where he currently plies his trade.

"It's important he continue[s] with stability, with calm" said the Saints boss, adding "at Southampton it's a good club for him."

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