Dutch and Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has informed his Southampton manager that he want to leave the club.
The story about van Dijk and the possibility of him leaving Southampton has been reported numerous times this year, and had taken several turns already prior to this latest development.
The Dutch centre-back signed a new contract with the Saints just a year ago, one that should have kept him at St. Mary’s for further six years. It didn’t take long for matters to start heading in the completely opposite direction.
Manchester City and Chelsea were at one point were reportedly interested in obtaining his services, but it quickly emerged that, after talking to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, his heart was set on a move to Merseyside. This naturally did not sit well with his current club, so Southampton did their best to quickly retake control of the situation, and reported Liverpool for a possible case of “tapping up”. This in turn prompted Liverpool to publicly apologize and state their withdrawal from pursuing a deal.
Since then, many pundits and reporters claimed the deal was not lost yet and that Liverpool should not give up their interest in van Dijk so easily, but Southampton stood firm. And now, according to a large number of credible media outlets, the player has told managed Pellegrino that he doesn’t want to play for Southampton anymore. For that he is currently being punished by having to train alone.
As The Telegraph report, Pellegrino said:
“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. I communicate the idea of the club to the players and for me it was easy [to leave Van Dijk out of training] 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 100 per cent to defend Southampton. It’s easy for me.”
“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 okay then you have to train alone until this period of time is over.”
If van Dijk leaves Southampton, Liverpool still remains the likeliest destination, with Klopp desperate to strengthen the Reds’ defence, the segment that arguably represents the weakest link of the team, though there can be little doubt that there will be other clubs as well monitoring the situation closely.
Main image credit: