Southampton are resigned to selling Virgil van Dijk in the January transfer window to any club willing to meet their asking price of £70m ($94m), according to reports.
Van Dijk, 26, was left out of the Saints squad by manager Mauricio Pellegrino for the second game in a row as the south coast club lost 5-2 at Tottenham on Boxing Day.
Pellegrino said the mounting speculation surrounding Van Dijk's future had played a part in his decision to drop the defender for the game against Spurs.
"I decide that it's the best for the team. I know that around Virgil there will be a lot of speculation but this is my decision," the Saints boss told Sky Sports.
"It's tactical reasons. The manager decides which is the best for every single game; we win, we draw, we lost with and without Virgil and in this squad right now, I have a lot of players who can play.
"Now he's part of our club and we know that Virgil is an important player for us, but we'll see what happens in the future.
"I cannot control the whispers and the news from outside."
A £70m transfer would make Van Dijk the most expensive defender in football history.
Southampton reportedly believe that their valuation of the centre-back is reasonable as he is eligible to play in the knockout stages of the Champions League and has more than four years left on his contract.
Liverpool pursued Van Dijk as a priority target early on during the summer transfer window but formally ended their interest after Southampton threatened to report the Reds to the Premier League over an alleged illegal approach for the player.
City manager Pep Guardiola is also interested in Van Dijk as he wants to strengthen his defence, while Arsenal and Chelsea are also reported to be keeping tabs on the Netherlands international.