Dutch international Virgil van Dijk has submitted a transfer request in a bid to leave the Premier League club.
Van Dijk, 26, is highly rated and has plenty of suitors over the summer, but saw one move to Liverpool collapsed after Southampton reported the Merseyside club to the Premier League for an alleged illegal approach to the player.
Liverpool were subsequently forced into an apology. Additionally, in a bid to defuse the situation, Jurgen Klopp’s team also promised that they would refrain from any pursuits towards the former Celtic player, thereby placating Southampton authorities.
However, van Dijk became unsettled with the Saints after club coach Mauricio Pellegrino revealing that the player had been training alone and was not in the right frame of mind to play for Southampton.
Even as the club continuously insists that the Holland international is not for sale, Van Dijk has now made it plain he wishes to leave, saying that he felt “insulted” by suggestions he has refused to train.
A statement from Van Dijk read: “It is with regret I can confirm I have today handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton.”
“I have been left frustrated by the club’s position that I am not for sale and am disappointed inquiries from multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed.”
“The period of time that I have just spent injured and unable to play has put a number of things into perspective and made me realise just how important it is to take major opportunities should they arise. I have consistently relayed my feelings to senior management in what I believed to be private and personal conversations.”
“Disappointingly these conversations have regularly found their way into the media. I would also like to make clear that I have never once refused to train. 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.
“However, the time for me to move on is now and I hope to be able to work with the club to find the best resolution to suit all parties.”
Liverpool were willing to pay a world-record sum for a defender — around £60m — to win the race for Van Dijk, although it remains to be seen whether Liverpool will now return for their No.1 summer transfer target.