Southampton Boss Admits Virgil van Dijk Wants to Leave, Opens Door for Liverpool
Manuel Pellegrino has officially confirmed that Virgil van Dijk wants out of Southampton - despite his best attempts to keep the Liverpool target at the club.
The Argentine revealed, for the first time publicly, that the centre-back was determined to leave St. Mary's this summer, in quotes published by the Liverpool Echo.
Van Dijk is desperate to move to Anfield and become the latest part of Jurgen Klopp's Reds outfit, and Pellegrino admitted that there was little more that could be done to convince his club captain to stay put.
The new Saints boss lamented: “I would like to bring the boy [Van Dijk] and to persuade him that he’s important for us and the club will not sell him.
“We are expecting the best for everyone, even for Virgil, but he doesn't want to be part of the team. This is the reason he is aside from the team.”
Reports throughout the summer have suggested that Van Dijk is valued at around £60m - a world record amount for a defender - and after the player's controversial courtship by Liverpool earlier in the summer, he was banished to train on his own away from the first-team squad.
However, Liverpool will feel boosted in their pursuit of the Dutch star, and the move seems back on again, after Jurgen Klopp's side initially pulled out of negotiations due to Southampton threatening to report them to the Football Association.
The Reds had allegedly tapped the 26-year-old up and were forced to cancel plans to sign him after Southampton caught wind of their shady dealings.
In spite of Van Dijk informing his current employers that he wanted a transfer away, Pellegrino stated that his side's stance over the defender's valuation had not changed and that they would insist on holding out for a lofty fee for him.
Pellegrino added: "We continue in the same way. The situation is the same. I can’t say no more, because the situation is the boy is aside of the team because he doesn't want to play for us.”