The Dutch defender only signed a new six-year contract with the Saints in May but is already being heavily linked with a move away from St Mary’s, with reports suggesting Liverpool and Everton are ready to offer £40million for his services.
It is not the first time the 25-year-old, who has been in excellent form for Puel’s side this term, has been linked with a switch to a Premier League rival, with Arsenal having taken a strong interest in the former Celtic man in the past.
Puel believes Van Dijk has the ability to become one of the world’s best defenders but feels he will only reach his potential if he stays on the south coast for the foreseeable future.
“Van Dijk is a great player now,” said Puel. “But he has a contract with Southampton and it is important he stays to continue his work.
“We can see the good work on the pitch and we can see all the good players making progress.
“I enjoy Virgil for his work and he has developed very well since the beginning of the season with extra responsibilities and physically and technically.
“He must become one of the best five or six defenders in the world. He has the capacity. It is important he continues with stability and Southampton is a good club for him.”