According to reports from BBC Sport, manager Ronald Koeman has issued a hands-off warning to Chelsea and Manchester United in their pursuit of Southampton star Sadio Mane.
After netting ten times in 30 appearances during his debut Premier League campaign – including a three-minute hat-trick against Aston Villa last May – the flying forward was subject to a £20million bid from Manchester United during the summer.
The 23-year-old stayed on at St. Mary’s but an impressive return of three goals and four assists in 13 Premier League appearances this season has reportedly gained another admirer in reigning champions Chelsea.
Both clubs have been tipped to launch bids for the Senegal international in the January transfer window but reports earlier this week revealed Southampton will not allow him to leave the club mid-season.
And during today’s pre-match press conference ahead of the Saints’ visit to Manchester City on Saturday, manager Ronald Koeman reiterated that message once again, telling reporters; “You can ask again about Sadio, Manchester United, Chelsea, but we will sell nobody in January.”
However, the club are growing increasingly aware that they can’t hold onto Mane for much longer, following a spate of impressive performances against the Premier League’s top clubs – particularly Chelsea and Liverpool.
With his contract set to enter its final two years at the end of the season, Southampton may be forced to sell the African attacker next summer to ensure a premium return on their £12million investment. They allegedly value him at around the £40million mark.