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 By PA Sport

Southampton lodge £15.5 million bid for Wesley Hoedt - report

Southampton are closing in on the capture of Netherlands defender Wesley Hoedt from Lazio, sources tell Press Association.

Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino has refused to rule out a deal for the 23-year-old, while sources say the St Mary's outfit have lodged a £15.5 million bid for the four-cap centre-back.

Southampton continue to insist they can retain wantaway defender Virgil van Dijk, despite the Dutchman continuing to agitate for a move to Liverpool.

When quizzed on Hoedt, Pellegrino replied: "I know the player but I will not talk about the market because when you talk about it, a negotiation isn't 80 percent or 90 percent, the negotiation is either 100 percent or zero percent.

"When he signs, a player is then for you [to talk about], but before that I have nothing to say.''

Former Celtic star Van Dijk missed Saints' goalless Premier League opener with Swansea on Saturday, officially due to a virus.

Pellegrino revealed the centre-back has now recovered -- but will not be considered for selection for Saturday's home league clash with West Ham.

"The Virgil situation, nothing has changed, it's the same as last week,'' said Pellegrino, of Van Dijk.

"For that reason I have nothing to say on that. He's okay but he won't be available to play.''

The Gao family from China completed their takeover of Southampton by purchasing an 80 percent stake in the club this week.

Katharina Liebherr will retain a 20 percent investment in Saints, and Pellegrino hopes the deal will further stabilise the club's future.

Chairman Ralph Krueger has also this week reiterated the club's determination not to sell Van Dijk, leaving Pellegrino still confident Saints can retain their highly-rated defender.

"When I met [technical director] Les Reed and Ralph [Krueger], they told me that they want to keep the best players on the pitch,'' said Pellegrino.

"And at this moment Southampton want to progress on the pitch.

"The idea in the club was to keep the best players in the club.

"Ralph was clear, Les was clear, and hopefully we've got the same idea, that to progress as a club we have to keep our best players.

"And if you've got the fortune to bring in another good player we'll be stronger.''


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