Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has revealed that Virgil van Dijk has effectively gone on strike, as the former Liverpool target tries to force an exit.
The Dutch international has informed his boss that he wants leave the club and is not available to play in pre-season, which in turn has resulted in him training alone.
It remains to be seen what the next step is though, as despite Liverpool being previously linked with a £60m swoop for the commanding centre-half previously, as reported by The Guardian, their hopes of signing the 26-year-old are surely over having been forced to publicly apologise over an illegal approach after the Saints had lodged a complaint with the Premier League.
Pellegrino said: “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 until this period of time is over.’”
Nevertheless, with the report going on to add that Van Dijk is determined to join Liverpool, coupled with interest from Manchester City and Chelsea, there is still a long way to go as Southampton may wish to get rid of him if he shows no loyalty to the club moving forward.
It remains to be seen whether or not Chelsea would still be in the running though having signed Antonio Rudiger last week, which could leave Pep Guardiola to battle it out with Jurgen Klopp.
Pellegrino reiterated that the message from the club is that Van Dijk will not be sold. In turn, he’ll be desperately hoping that the former Celtic defender will show his commitment and professionalism if an exit doesn’t materialise in the coming month or so.
While he hopes that the Dutch international can be reintegrated, it’s claimed that he will not travel to France for a training camp and will not play in a friendly against St Etienne next Saturday. As a result, there is still a very strong argument to suggest that he’ll be moving on.