Southampton expect Jannik Vestergaard to stay at St Mary’s this summer despite interest from Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur, as reported by The Athletic.
If the Saints hope to shed that ‘selling club’ tag, retaining the services of their great Dane would certainly help.
But, then again, hands are tied on the South Coast – and not for the first time.
Southampton were forced to sell Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham last year after the skipper rejected a new contract. And, with just 15 months left on Vestergaard’s deal, there’s a real chance history may be about to repeat itself.
Spurs are circling again. In March, The Mirror claimed Jose Mourinho had identified the £18 million giant as the ideal addition to an error-prone back line that shot itself in the foot twice more during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Newcastle United.
Vestergaard, meanwhile, admitted to TipsBladet he was flattered by ongoing links with the 2019 Champions League runners-up.
But, after Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed contract talks were under way, The Athletic claims there’s a quiet confidence at St Mary’s.
Southampton think Vestergaard, despite all those rumours, will still be wearing red and white in 2021/22.
“I think he feels, at the moment, (like) a leader on the pitch,” Hasenhuttl tells the Daily Echo.
“He can definitely be one of the better centre-backs in the Premier League. He knows we are happy he’s here.
“We didn’t always have such a good time together. He was also struggling, like we all have during these two-and-a-half years since I’ve been here.
“But especially this season he has shown some very good qualities and has developed his game massively. He still knows we want to have him here.
“We are in negotiations with him and, hopefully, we will find a solution that is best for both of us.”
With his 6ft 6in frame, fearsome aerial presence and trademark 60-yard diagonal in his locker, comparisons have inevitably been drawn between Vestergaard and a certain Virgil van Dijk.