Virgil van Dijk Set Miss Saints First Game of Season as Pellegrino Admits He 'Doesn't Want to Play'
Virgil van Dijk is set to remain out of action for Southampton, and is now increasingly likely to miss the Saints' season opener against Swansea on August 12, as his stand off with Mauricio Pellegrino and the club hierarchy continues.
The centre back, who is a major transfer target of Liverpool and Chelsea, has not taken part in any pre-season matches this summer and has trained away from the first team, despite Pellegrino's insistence that he would like to keep him at the club.
As reported by the Telegraph, the Dutchman will 'almost certainly' miss Southampton's clash with the Swans next Saturday, while Pellegrino and the club management try to work out a solution to his future.
Freshly appointed Saints boss Pellegrino has stated his desire to keep the former Celtic man at St Mary's this summer, but has revealed that van Dijk is not happy.
The former Alaves manager said: “We continue in the same way. The situation is the boy is aside of the team because he doesn’t want to play for us.”
Pellegrino also put across his personal desire to keep van Dijk, who signed a new contract last summer until 2023, at the club.
He said: “I would like to persuade him that he’s important for us and the club will not sell him.”
Southampton have already threatened to report Liverpool to the Premier League this summer, amidst rumours of an illegal approach, but - despite initially backing off from their pursuit - the Reds have continued to be linked with the £60m-rated defender.