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Koeman will only sell to Champions League clubs

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman says only clubs playing Champions League football will be able to prise away his best players.

Koeman has one season left on his deal at Saints and will seek assurances over the club’s ability to keep their best players in any discussions about extending his contract.

Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama have both been linked with moves and the Dutch manager knows it will be difficult to stop players from leaving for clubs playing in UEFA’s elite competition.

“We know we are Southampton, [we would] like to keep everybody in [the squad] but still, for a Southampton player, if a big team in the Champions League comes [in] it is always interesting for the player,” he said.

“I can mention to the club that nobody can leave like I did in January but I don’t make the last call in this club, that is the board.

“How strong we are next season depends whether we can keep everyone for next season.

“I still believe in developing the team and the individual player and the players learn from his first Premier League season like Virgil [van Dijk] and [Jordy] Clasie, because that makes the team even stronger.

“Maybe we can sign a very good player and every season we like to have a better team.”

Koeman’s determination to retain his prized assets could be bad news for the likes of Manchester United, who are reportedly interested in Mane.

Sun 15 May, 2016
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