Southampton Prepared to Bench Virgil van Dijk Rather Than Give in to Transfer Request
Southampton are seemingly 'adamant' that want away centre-back Virgil van Dijk will not be sold this summer, despite handing in a formal transfer request, and are unwilling to back down in light of his very public desire to leave the club.
A report from The Times suggests that Southampton are prepared to leave Van Dijk out of their matchday squad for as long as he isn't in the right frame of mind or refuses to play.
It appears the Saints won't be pressured into letting him go against their will and would rather see him sidelined on their terms than play for another club after successfully forcing his way out.
Earlier this week, a public statement from Van Dijk attempted to explain his position.
"I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfill my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer," he said.
"I want to play European football again and challenge for major honours and as such I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist.
"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."
It had been rumoured that Van Dijk had refused to train, but he denies such claims.
"I would also like to make clear that I have never once refused to train. 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," he said.
Van Dijk will not be part of the Southampton team that kicks off the new Premier League campaign against Swansea at home on Saturday. At the very least, it seems he will be out of the team until after the transfer window closes at the end of the month.