Virgil van Dijk: Southampton defender hands in transfer request

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk has been at Southampton since 2015

Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk has handed in a transfer request and says he is "insulted" at suggestions he refused to train.

The Netherlands centre-back, 26, is wanted by a number of clubs and had said he wanted to move to Liverpool.

In July, Saints manager Mauricio Pellegrino said that he ordered the Dutchman to train alone.

"I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist," Van Dijk said.

"I have been left frustrated by the club's position that I am not for sale and am disappointed that enquiries from multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed.

"I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfil my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer.

"I can confirm that I was asked about my frame of mind and for all of the reasons mentioned above I was open and honest in saying that I did not feel I was in a settled mindset given the circumstances.

"As a proud professional I am insulted by the suggestion that it was me who refused to train and so feel it is important to point out the true version of events."

Van Dijk said he handed in the request after claiming Southampton were about to fine him two weeks wages.

"I had very much hoped to retain the good relationship I've always enjoyed with everyone at the club, especially the fans, but unfortunately in light of everything that's happened this has now been seriously affected."

The former Celtic player has been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool this summer as well as attracting interest from Premier League champions Chelsea and Manchester City.

However the Anfield club said they ended their interest in June after Saints said they were going to report them to the Premier League for making an alleged illegal approach.

And at the weekend Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said he was happy with his centre-back options.

"We have four. I don't think we need more. In the moment I'm fine," said the German. "We are open until 31 August. We cannot force things and we would never get a centre-back 'just because.'"

The Saints have said in the past that they will not sell Van Dijk.

He signed a new six-year contract in May 2016, having joined Southampton for £13m from Celtic in September 2015.

Van Dijk missed the final five months of the 2016-17 season after picking up an ankle injury following a challenge by Leicester City's Jamie Vardy in Southampton's 3-0 win at St Mary's on 22 January.

It forced him to miss the EFL Cup final loss to Manchester United at Wembley.

Analysis

Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright on BBC Radio 5 live

If you want to go you have got to do that. I'm sure someone has told him you're going to need to push this more.

If it is Liverpool who want him they have got to be seen to have nothing to do with anything.

Southampton sell players - that's what they do. He signed a contract and now he is worth £50m.

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