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Liverpool transfer target Virgil van Dijk tells Southampton he wants to leave the club and is forced to train alone

The Dutchman wants a big-money move this summer and is also wanted by Chelsea

Miguel Delaney,Ed Malyon
Friday 21 July 2017 17:00 BST
Van Dijk has asked for a move away from the club
Van Dijk has asked for a move away from the club (Getty)

Virgil van Dijk has been training alone “for days”, sources have told The Independent, having informed new Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino that he wanted to leave the club in one of their first meetings.

The Argentine took over at St Mary’s at the end of June, and one of his first tasks has been to handle the Van Dijk situation, as he chose to publicly reveal that the 26-year-old had asked to leave.

There is now a belief on many sides that Liverpool is where the centre-half wants to go, although the Merseyside club are understandably treading carefully and not looking to push the situation, having previously been forced to apologise to Southampton over a complaint about illegal approaches and contritely stating that their interest in the player had ended.

The developments could well see both Manchester City and Chelsea enter the race for Van Dijk given their previous interest, although there may be something of a stand-off, since any concrete bid would allow Liverpool to come back in.

Southampton would demand upward of £65m for the player, although Pellegrino was still publicly hopeful of convincing him to stay. “The boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave,” Pellegrino told the Daily Echo.

“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.

“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%. If you are not 100% with the team I need to work with the players who are 1,000% to defend Southampton. It’s easy for me.”

“I hope that Virgil can review his feelings because you know that today a player is big business,” Pellegrino said. “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%. This is the question.”

Premier League transfer round-up: Liverpool clinch Hull's Robertson

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