Ronald Koeman looks unlikely to be reunited with his former centre-half Ron Vlaar this summer.
Saints have been linked with a move for the 29-year-old Dutch international, but Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has issued a hands-off warning to them.
Koeman had been quoted at the weekend as saying that Vlaar, who he worked with at Feyenoord, was an “option” if Dejan Lovren left the club.
However, the Saints boss distanced himself from those remarks this week, saying he had not spoken about the Villa captain, other than to say that he knew him.
While Vlaar enjoyed a fine World Cup with the Netherlands, it is understood that Saints do not see him as an ideal fit in terms of what they might need.
If Lovren does depart for Liverpool, as appears likely, then a left-sided centre half will be sought as a replacement.
Vlaar, who is a right-footed player, would not be a natural fit in that position.
Koeman has this week been linked with a second return to Feyenoord for another Dutch international centre-back, Terence Kongolo, having already signed striker Graziano Pelle from his previous club.
Kongolo, a 20-year-old left-footer, would be more in the mould of what Saints would require and, with his contract at the Rotterdam club entering its final year, he could be purchased for a reasonable price.
However, Feyenoord are understood to be confident of the player agreeing a new and improved deal this summer, and his presence was part of the reason why the Eredivisie club were willing to sell fellow Dutch international Bruno Martins Indi to Porto, while they may also allow Stefan de Vrij to leave.
De Vrij, who is also due to become a free agent next summer, is another who has been linked with Saints.
However, Manchester United are keen on the 22-year-old, while Italian club Lazio have already had an offer knocked back.
One player who does not appear to be going anywhere is Vlaar, with Villa boss Lambert making their position on the matter clear.
“Ron is not only an Aston Villa player, he is our captain,” he said, addressing the links to Saints.
“He has one year remaining on his contract — and he is staying here.
“We will be talking with him in due course about extending his deal and we are confident those talks will be positive.
“Ron has always said that he is really happy here — and has done nothing to suggest anything has changed.
“None of this speculation is coming from him, or anyone connected with him. We aren’t selling. It is as simple as that.”
Saints have also been linked with a move for Feyenoord’s Dutch international midfielder Jordy Clasie, although, as of yesterday, there had been no contact in relation to the 23-year-old.
As reported yesterday, the club are keen to wrap up deals for Celtic keeper Fraser Forster and Norwich winger Nathan Redmond this summer, and have already had bids rejected for both.
They also want a new left-back, to replace Luke Shaw, with Sporting Lisbon’s Argentina international Marcos Rojo having been mooted, as well as Nice’s Timothee Kolodziejczak.