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Virgil van Dijk tells Southampton FC he wants to leave

Jon Wilde 21 Jul 2017
Virgil van Dijk in action for the Netherlands (credit: Getty Images)

Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk, the subject of widespread transfer speculation this summer, has said he wants to leave the club, according to new manager Mauricio Pellegrino.

Earlier this summer, Saints reported Liverpool for ‘tapping up’ the Dutch defender, which led to the Merseyside club issuing an apology in which they also insisted their interest in signing the player was over.

But now Pellegrino, who last month was appointed as successor to Claude Puel at St Mary’s Stadium, has ordered Van Dijk to train separately from the rest of the squad after the former Celtic centre-half claimed he was not in a fit “psychological” state to play.

Pellegrino said:

“The boy said 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’."

Asked if Van Dijk would leave, the Argentine said:

“I repeat that the club said not. I hope 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, 100%. I want to help the squad, I want to help Virgil, but we need a player and, I repeat, involved in every training session, not just with the body but with the mind on the pitch with the rest of the players.”

Van Dijk, 26, joined Celtic from Dutch club Groningen in the summer of 2013 for a transfer fee of around £2.6million and quickly established a reputation for himself as being one of the most promising young defenders in British football.

He spent two years in Glasgow before making a summer 2015 transfer-deadline-day move to Southampton, who ironically had sold Sadio Mane and Nathaniel Clyne to Liverpool in the preceding weeks.

In his two seasons on the south coast, Van Dijk has made 68 appearances for Saints and scored seven goals, while has also won 12 caps for the Netherlands national team.


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Virgil van Dijk tells Southampton FC he wants to leave

Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk, the subject of widespread transfer speculation this summer, has said he wants to leave the club, according to new manager Mauricio Pellegrino.

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