Southampton boss Claude Puel has revealed that team captain Jose Fonte will be left out of the squad when the Saints face Liverpool in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final clash on Wednesday.
Fonte handed in a transfer request last Thursday, with speculation rife over a possible move to Manchester United.
Having formed a solid partnership with dutch sensation Virgil van Dijk, this is the last thing the club needed. They have dropped to 10th place in the Premier League and it would do them well to keep their best players, especially those at the back.
Fonte has played all of the 90 minutes in his 19 appearances for the Saints this season, but he won't be called upon on Wednesday, as Puel would rather not having an unsettled player protecting his goal.
“We have an exciting game on Wednesday, and concentrating on this is the most important thing. We are not favourites, but we have nothing to lose.
“It’s important to try to have a good result in the first game to prepare us for the second one. My players are ready.
“This competition is an opportunity for us to win something, and this is important.”
Things could get much worse for Southampton, with Van Dijk being a target for several clubs as well. For now it looks like the player is keen to remain at St Mary's, but a huge bid could quickly change things.