Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino refused to be drawn on Virgil van Dijk's future as the Dutch defender was omitted from the Saints' squad which lost 5-2 to Spurs on Boxing Day.
The Netherlands International missed his second consecutive Premier League match after being absent from Saturday's home draw with Huddersfield Town.
Although many are drawing their own conclusions with the opening of the winter transfer window only days away, the beleaguered manager insisted the decision was purely tactical.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, the Argentine said: "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,
"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."
Van Dijk's continued absence from Saints' match day squads, considering he is one of the club's best defenders, seems to indicate a January exit.
This news is bound to heighten the interest of Manchester City and Liverpool who have both been long term admirers of the imposing defender, but the former Celtic player will certainly not come cheaply for his suitors with likely bids needed to be in excess of £70m to secure his capture.