Virgil Van Dijk has handed in a transfer request after telling Southampton he wishes to leave the club this summer, according to Blame Football
The report says that Van Dijk has submitted a request to the club’s hierarchy, and that the player has been forced to train alone, away from the squad.
The Reds were handed a huge boost in their pursuit of their top centre-back target, as revealed by the biggest and most popular online bookmaker in the UK last week after Mauricio Pellegrino confirmed that the defender is training alone because he wants to leave.
The 26-year old will remain in Southampton whilst the rest of the squad head to France as the Dutchman attempts to force through a move to Liverpool.
Pellegrino said: “The boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. This is the decision.
“I had to say ‘if you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK then you have to train alone until this period of time happens’.”
“My relationship with Virgil is excellent. I was clear with the boy, and I was talking from the first day with him.
“The club was clear. The club told me they will not sell Virgil.
— Adam Leitch (@adamleitchsport) July 21, 2017
“I translated the idea of the club to the player and for me it was easy because I had to manage the dynamic of the team.
“Now he is not involved with the team because psychologically he is not 100 per cent. If you are not 100 per cent with the team I need to work with the players who are 1000 per cent to defend Southampton. It’s easy for me.”
Van Dijk’s determination to leave Southampton puts the club in a tricky position. Pellegrino’s claim that he has to work with players that are ‘1000 per cent’ happy at Southampton could be vital. The newly appointed Saints boss added:
“I hope that Virgil can review his feelings because you know that today a player is big business. Not just the player but behind them is a lot of interests.
“I don’t want to say too much but we need the player, but 100 per cent. This is the question.”
Pellegrino was asked what might happen if Van Dijk continues to demand a move away from the club, to which he replied:
“I don’t know.
“I know I need all the players. I need the 25 players, I need Virgil to be involved in the dynamic every day and to be prepared to play.
“If the manager has got 26 soldiers instead of 23 it is better. We need everybody.
“When you sign a contract you are part of the team, because anyone can play your own game. It’s something we have to know from the beginning.
“The club was clear and for me it was easy, but I am responsible for the dynamic of the team.
“The group support this dynamic because we are respecting everybody, but we have to respect the club because that it is more important than any person.”
Liverpool remain strong favourites to sign Van Dijk despite having issued an apology statement for their overly public pursuit of the player back in June.
The player himself is said to be desperate to move to Liverpool, with the Reds likely to be his only potential destination if he is to leave the club.
Pellegrino has also made clear that no player is bigger than the club and the Reds will be hoping that Van Dijk becomes a problem that Pellegrino decides he does not want to have.
“I believe the team needs important players to be stronger but there is no player more important than all the rest. This is clear for me.
“There are a few examples that are more important than the rest – Di Stefano, Pele, I don’t know. We talk about George Best, Bobby Charlton, but I don’t know how many. Today maybe Messi.
“I believe any of us is not more important than the team, and this is crucial.
“The team needs important players, but important players need the team more than the other.”