Southampton Boss Warns In-Demand Virgil van Dijk No Player Is Bigger Than the Club
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has warned Virgil van Dijk no player is bigger than the club as the defender continues to push through a move away from the club.
The Dutch defender handed in a transfer request earlier this week, and according to the Mirror will miss Southampton's opening game of the season on Saturday when they host Swansea City due to a 'virus'.
The Saints' boss told the press on Friday: “The problem here is that Virgil is one of the most important players. But there isn’t one player more important than the 11 players playing together.
“Virgil is an important player but the club was clear from the beginning with the player. We cannot control every situation and Virgil is part of our club because he has a contract.
“The player is clear with his position but we have to keep going because I can’t control the thinking of the player at this moment.”
Since the speculation surrounding Van Dijk's future at the club began, he has been forced to train away from the first-team, however Pellegrino added he actually hasn't trained at all over the last two days due to a supposed 'virus'.
He added: “He won’t be available this weekend as he had some trouble with a virus and hasn’t trained the last two days.
“We are expecting him to come back and hopefully he can change his point of view.”
The Dutchman was heavily linked with a move to fellow Premier League outfit Liverpool earlier in the transfer window, before an illegal approach for the player forced Liverpool to withdraw their interest in signing the 26-year-old and apologise to Southampton.
Despite the drama, there are still reports suggesting Liverpool will come back in for the defender later on in the window, however will face still competition from the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal who have also expressed their desire to sign the player.
This transfer saga has definitely been high on Pellegrino's agenda since his arrival at St Mary's Stadium, however he has insisted he is focused on the game against Swansea.
He revealed: “Swansea are a good team because they have a balance between defence and attack as they play with a diamond in the middle and the full backs up high.
“They also want to press higher up the pitch and it will be really tough for us. You will see more or less the same dynamic from us that you have in the last few games but we are ready.”
The Saints will be looking to start the season positively as they look to build upon last season.