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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Saints won’t sell Van Dijk; Aurier to Tottenham

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Southampton are said to be interested in signing Lazio’s Dutch international center back Wesley Hoedt and have issued an update on Virgil Van Dijk‘s future at St Mary’s.

[ MORE: Danny Rose to Chelsea?

Multiple outlets, including the Sun, say Saints have bid $20 million for Hoedt, 23, and many believe that is the first chain of action in star Virgil van Dijk leaving St Mary’s.

Van Dijk, 26, has put in a transfer request with Liverpool and Chelsea said to be interested in the $80 million valued center back, but the Press Association is reporting that Hoedt is not seen as a replacement for VVD.

Southampton continue to insist that their star man isn’t for sale despite his desire to leave and in an interview with BBC Radio Solent, Saints chairman Ralph Krueger issued an update on van Dijk’s situation on Wednesday.

“Our stance remains based on our strategy from May when we spoke last. I already told you the numbers that we have transferred in and transferred out and it is time to stop that. We really thought this was a good summer for that. Strength of the contracts, age of the group and the experiences of last year like going to a cup final gave us the feeling this is a group that tasted that winning and keeping them together would give us the chance to reach another level.

“Virgil is not the only player that is involved in this he is part of the whole strategy of not selling. Nobody is for sale that we don’t want to sell and so he is not for sale in this window. We have said it more than once. We are not done with the window yet. We are still looking at some options. I am not going to promise anything. It has got to be something that truly strengthens the squad and fits into our group.”

Saints currently have Japanese international Maya Yoshida, England U-21 international Jack Stephens and Poland U-21 defender Jan Bednarek as their three central defensive options available, and it is likely Hoedt would come in to take a starting role in place of either Yoshida or Stephens.

If Van Dijk’s situation can be resolved amicably and he returns to the squad then Saints’ defense would be much stronger with two Dutch internationals at the heart of their defense. Conceding goals hasn’t been the biggest issue over the past 12 months for the south coast club but a drought of six home Premier League games without a goal is perhaps the biggest concern for new manager Mauricio Pellegrino.


French outlet L’Equipe are reporting that Tottenham have agreed to sign Paris Saint-Germain’s Serge Aurier for $25.7 million.

Aurier was previously linked with a move to Manchester United and both Inter Milan and Juventus are said to be interested in the defender.

The right back, 24, has fallen down the pecking order for Les Parisiens after Dani Alves joined PSG from Juventus this summer, plus Thomas Meunier is also around at the Parcs des Princes.

Per the report the deal for Aurier is fully agreed but is dependent on his appeal hearing against his conviction of assaulting a police officer in Paris. He was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence and that could complicate a move to the UK as Aurier could not travel to England to play in PSG’s UEFA Champions League game at Arsenal last November.

The Ivory Coast international has pace, power and is versatile, making him a perfect fit for Spurs’ defensive unit. After losing Kyle Walker to Manchester City for $64.3 million many believed Kieran Tripier would be the automatic starter for Tottenham at right back, but with the England international currently out injured Spurs academy product Kyle Walker-Peters (I know, confusing Stick with it) put in a man of the match display at right back against Newcastle United during the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Aurier’s added experience would help Spurs in the UCL this season and there’s no questioning they need some extra cover in the back with Mauricio Pochettino also said to be closing in on a move for Ajax’s Colombian center back Davinson Sanchez.

Southampton 0-0 Swansea: Dominant Saints held

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  • Yoshida goes close twice
  • Saints had 29 shots, 13 corners
  • Record six home PL games without a goal for Saints
  • Swansea without Sigurddson, Llorente

Southampton and Swansea City drew 0-0 at St Mary’s on Saturday as the away side somehow escaped with a point.

Saints went close on multiple occasions through Maya Yoshida but the center back couldn’t convert his chances and let the Swans off the hook.

New manager Mauricio Pellegrino will be impressed with Southampton’s display but will be ruing missed opportunities. New manager for Saints, but the same old story.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Early on Manolo Gabbiadini hit the post with a header and Dusan Tadic side-footed wide from close range when the entire stadium thought he had scored and you got the sense it could be one of those days, once again, for Southampton.

A big chance then arrived for Swansea as a cross from the right was headed towards goal brilliantly by Tammy Abraham but the Chelsea loanee saw his effort fly inches wide.

Saints started to come into the game more and Gabbiadini got on the end of Ryan Bertrand‘s cross but the Italian striker couldn’t direct it goalwards.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Alfie Mawson brilliantly blocked a James Ward-Prowse shot after Nathan Redmond‘s positive run, then Dusan Tadic went down in the box after a heavy challenge.

Saints kept pouring forward and came close before half time when Yoshida sent an acrobatic effort towards goal which flew just wide.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half there was wave after wave of Southampton attack with Gabbiadini dragging an effort wide, then Swansea broke and Abraham had an effort superbly blocked by Cedric and then Leroy Fer smashed the rebound wide in their only chance of the second half.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Yoshida then somehow missed the target from close range a few yards out with the goal gaping, while Tadic curled over when he got free on the edge of the box.

Jack Stephens had a good shout for a penalty kick late on for a handball but the calls were waved away as the Swans frustrated the Saints with Yoshida and substitute Charlie Austin both going close late on.

Mario Lemina joins Southampton for club-record fee

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Southampton have signed midfielder Mario Lemina from Juventus for a club-record fee believed to be in the region of $23.3 million.

[ MORE: Done deal for Coutinho? ]

Lemina, 23, has signed a five year deal at Saints and the Gabonese midfielder could make his debut this Saturday in Southampton’s Premier League opener against Swansea City at St. Mary’s.

The box-to-box midfielder has spent the past two seasons with Juve winning back-to-back Serie A and Coppa Italia titles, while he spent three seasons with Marseille before that.

“I am really happy to have signed for Southampton. I think that it was the project that attracted me the most and the one my family was really behind. I am really happy to be here,” Lemina said.

Southampton’s vice-chairman Les Reed also had the following to say about Lemina’s arrival.

“Mario still has his best years ahead of him, and we believe that he will not only be an excellent acquisition for us in the immediate future, but that he will also be able to realize even more of his potential here in the years to come,” Reed said. “In a volatile market with some extraordinary and inexplicable transfers taking place, we are determined to go about our work in a diligent and correct way. This is a player who has won trophies and played in the Champions League final less than three months ago and he has signed for Saints amid a host of suitors.”

Lamina becomes Mauricio Pellegrino‘s second signing as Saints boss with Polish center back Jan Bednarek, 21, joining earlier this summer for $6.4 million. Saints’ previous record transfer deal was for Sofiane Boufal last summer as he arrived for $20.7 million.

With Virgil Van Dijk‘s future up in the air after he released a statement on Monday stating he has handed in a formal transfer request, Southampton’s fans can at least be excited about Lemina’s arrival.

He is a player who loves to break up the play and start attacks and he should dovetail nicely alongside Oriol Romeu in central midfield for Saints. Following Lamina’s arrival the likes of Steven Davis, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Jordy Clasie may now be scrapping for minutes.

Southampton, Liverpool and West Ham were previously linked with Lamine two years ago, but he instead joined Juve, initially on loan and then permanently, and played 110 times for La Vecchia Signora, scoring five times. Lemina has UEFA Champions League experience (he came on as a sub in Juve’s UCL final defeat to Real Madrid last season) and it was reported that Stoke City were also pushing hard to sign him.

A definite coup for Southampton.

Van Dijk hands in transfer request after learning of wage fine

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Virgil Van Dijk has handed in a formal transfer request to Southampton, a move inspired by a fine of two weeks’ wages from the Premier League club.

The towering and influential center back says he’s made no secret of his desire to leave St. Mary’s for bigger challenges, and that Saints have known of his desire for six months.

It’s been a messy situation, one that extends beyond Van Dijk’s saga with Liverpool. That saw the Reds threatened with legal action, as the Merseyside club apologized for interfering in Van Dijk’s time at Southampton.

[ JPW AT WEMBLEY: 3 things from Community Shield ]

A source close to Van Dijk claimed on July 25 that the center back would be with Liverpool by the end of the transfer window.

A price tag of close to $70 million sits on Van Dijk, and Southampton has added center back Jan Bednarek from Lech Poznan on this summer. The club also has Maya Yoshida, Jack Stephens, and Florian Gardos in its ranks.

Van Dijk said in a statement that “multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed” in their pursuit of his services. In addition to Liverpool, Chelsea has been linked with a move for the former Celtic back.

This could have lower key resonance to the Neymar transfer saga, as $70 million is a lot to spend but Southampton are wise investors. Should Saints sell Van Dijk, it’s unlikely they’ll leap heavily into the transfer market.

Southampton has been linked with Juventus’ Mario Lemina and Benfica’s Andre Almeida, two versatile players who would cost a total of $32 million.

Transfer rumor roundup: Barca aims for Lemar; Saints chasing Juve, Benfica men

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Monday mornings are especially busy in the transfer rumor mill, and the final one ahead of the Premier League season is no exception.

Multiple reports say Barcelona is flashing that Neymar sale money in pursuit of a summer-long target of Arsenal. Thomas Lemar has seemingly been linked with the Gunners each week of the offseason, but Monaco’s flashy forward could be headed to La Liga. Lemar, 21, is a left wing like Neymar and has 19 goals and 22 assists in 91 appearances for Monaco, including a pair of goals against Tottenham in last season’s UEFA Champions League.. He’s been capped five times by France.

[ JPW AT WEMBLEY: 3 things from Community Shield ]

Southampton is being linked with a pair of players, including a battle with Crystal Palace for a defender from Benfica. The man in question is Andre Almeida, the 26-year-old Benfica right back with 158 appearances for the Portuguese power. Almeida also plays left back and defensive midfielder, and would cost about $10.5 million.

Meanwhile, Saints are expected to land $21-26 million Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina on Monday pending a medical. Lemina is a Gabonese international with six caps and a goal after representing France at youth levels. The 23-year-old moved permanently from Marseille ahead of last season following a loan spell with Juve, and made 42 appearances over two seasons. He cost about $11 million, and would clearly provide a hefty profit for The Old Lady.

Nineteen-year-old Timothy Fosu-Mensah is going to move away from Manchester United for first team minutes, according to ESPN, moving to Crystal Palace. He played just six Premier League minutes last season before going 90 in the season-closing win over Palace. Fosu-Mensah can play defensive mid, right back, and center back.