Southampton chairman Ralph Kruger has decided to go public with a firm denial that star duo Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez are on the verge of a £35m move to Tottenham Hotspur, insisting that neither player will join the St Mary's exodus before the transfer window slams shut.
Schneiderlin in particular has been consistently linked with both Spurs and Arsenal over the last two months, with former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino targeting a reunion with the French international and sidelined striker Rodriguez at White Hart Lane.
Saints have already sold Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren and Luke Shaw for a whopping return just shy of £100m this summer, but Kruger is adamant Schneiderlin and Rodriguez are very much part of new manager Ronald Koeman's plans for next season.
Kruger breaks his silence
In an interview with the Daily Echo this afternoon Kruger revealed: “Specifically to Rodriguez and Schneiderlin, they will not be going anywhere.
“We see them as part of a core and the core we’ve got right now. In place is a core, that is where Ronald would like to go and they a part of that core.
“Any reports that Rodriguez or Schneiderlin are leaving or we are in engaged in transfer conversations are totally off the mark.
“They will not be sold.”
Would transfer requests force the issue?
Saints face will be relieved to finally hear Kruger make an attempt to retain at least a few of the stars that established them as a Premier League force last season, but there's still a long way to go before the transfer window slams shut.
Schneiderlin in particular is thought to be targeting a reunion with Pochettino at White Hart Lane, but may have to go public with that declaration if a move is to materialise.
Saints have previously stated that they would sell Schneiderlin if they receive an offer of £27m, surely despite Kruger's statement this afternoon that stance still stands.
Rodriguez on his way too?
Beleaguered Saints fans probably thought Rodriguez was a sure bet to spend at least the first half of next season on the South Coast, with the forward still recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Rodriguez has two years left on his current deal and tentative talks over fresh terms have not been positive, with Saints medical staff now facing the stark prospect of nursing the striker back to fitness only to see him move on to pastures new.
Kruger has other ideas though and views last season's 15-goal star as integral to a rebuilding project at St Mary's next season, with the battle firmly drawn as Saints batten down the hatches and attempt to end their selling spree on number five.
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