Southampton have reportedly made defender Virgil van Dijk train alone after he expressed his wish to leave St.Mary’s amidst Liverpool interest.
As per The Mirror, Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino revealed how the 26-year-old was being forced to train alone, due to his desire to leave the club in this transfer window. The Saints are unwilling to sell the centre-back and have informed the 45-year-old manager of the same.
Pellegrino stated, “The boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. I had to say, ‘If you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK then you have to train alone.’ The club have told me they will not sell Virgil.”
Van Dijk was heavily linked with a move away from St.Mary’s this summer and a number of top Premier League sides were said to be interested in him, namely Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal. However, last month it was reported that Liverpool was his preferred destination.
Liverpool were rumoured to be leading the race for Van Dijk’s signature, but Southampton didn’t take too kindly to the Reds’ pursuit of their star player and filed a complaint against them. Jurgen Klopp’s side then had to issue a humiliating apology to the Saints for the ‘misunderstanding’.
However, the recent turn of events will , no doubt, come as a huge boost to Liverpool and may even convince them to reignite their interest in the Dutchman, who seems likely to miss out on Southampton’s trip to France on Monday for their pre-season training camp.
“Now he is not involved with the team because psychologically he is not 100 per cent,” Pellegrino said. “I need to work with players who are 100 per cent behind Southampton so it’s easy for me. I hope that Virgil can review his feelings. We need the player but we need him at 100 per cent.”
The Dutchman, who became one of the most in-demand players in the League after his impressive performances for the Saints over the course of the past 2 seasons, has 5 years left on his current contract, so Southampton will have the edge in any potential negotiations that may take place.
Southampton have managed to retain most of their top players so far this transfer window and will certainly look to keep it that way. However, if they are eventually forced to let go of yet another top player to Liverpool, they will certainly squeeze every penny out of the Reds.
£60million is the price that has been doing the rounds, a figure Liverpool can afford. They have already broken their transfer record this season by acquiring Mohammed Salah and would certainly be willing to bring out the chequebook once again to get their man.