Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino refused to comment on his club's pursuit of Lazio defender Wesley Hoedt and echoed the sentiments of the Saints hierarchy regarding the future of Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk.

Hoedt was recently the subject of a £15m bid from Pellegrino's side, who are still looking for defensive reinforcements after failing to adequately replace former club captain Jose Fonte, who left for West Ham United in January.

Pellegrino admitted that he was well aware of Holland international Hoedt but was reluctant to go into any great length about Southampton's interest in the 23-year-old Lazio star.

"I know the player but I will not talk about the market because when you talk about it, a negotiation isn't 80 per cent or 90 per cent, the negotiation is either 100 per cent or zero per cent," Pellegrino was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

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

Southampton's pursuit of Hoedt has predictably led to suggestions that the Dutchman is arriving to replace his compatriot Van Dijk, who still has designs on a move to Liverpool.

The 26-year-old recently submitted a transfer request after being left frustrated by Saints' stance over his future, and has made his desire to work under Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp abundantly clear.

But despite his blatant attempts to engineer a move to Liverpool, Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger reiterated the club's position that they will not sell players who they do not wish to part with, and Pellegrino agrees that the Saints need to keep their star players in Hampshire in order to elevate themselves further up the table.

"The Virgil situation, nothing has changed, it's the same as last week," added Pellegrino. "For that reason I have nothing to say on that. He's okay but he won't be available to play.

"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 [Krueger] 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."

Wesley Hoedt
Hoedt is expected to join Southampton in the coming days. Getty Images