sport

Koeman: Ramirez not for sale

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has no intention of sanctioning the late-summer sale of Gaston Ramirez.

The Uruguay international playmaker has been linked with a move away from St Mary's for much of the transfer window.

Sevilla were reported to be leading the chase, while a number of clubs in Italy were said to be keen on returning the former Bologna forward to Serie A.

Koeman, though, says a man snapped up for 12million in 2012 still has an important part to play in his plans despite the arrival of other forward-thinking talent.

The Dutchman said in the Daily Echo: "Our squad is too small to think about players going out of the squad because we have to bring in and not let players out.

"He's a very good player because I know him, I see him in the training sessions but he had a big problem. He missed two times in a week in the first six or seven weeks of the season and then you are always back with your physical way and your football way and you need time for that.

"Little by little now I hope he will continue fit and in a good shape because there is no doubt about his quality.

"He can play in my opinion in three positions – in the left wing position, the right wing position and as a number 10 behind the striker with a lot of freedom which he needs.

"He's a player like (Dusan) Tadic, you can't say stay wide and keep wide, they need movement, they need freedom to play.

"The problem is he wasn't in the physical 100 per cent and now little by little he will be and then he will start playing."

Koeman has also been discussing Jack Cork's future again, with the 25-year-old midfielder charged with the task of proving that he is deserving of an extension to a contract that will expire next summer.

The Saints boss added on what Cork needs to do to earn fresh terms: "Training and playing like he is now and there will come a moment that the club will decide about his future but it's too early to say others things than I can do now at the moment.

"It's always different.

"There's a new manager and everybody starts at zero and have to show their qualities and the manager will decide the line-up for the match and if you are not one of the 11 show the manager your qualities.

"How he did against Millwall he came on a good way in the team and brings the spirit in the team what we need in the second half and that's the way you have to react and you have to do that."