Liverpool and Chelsea target Virgil van Dijk submits transfer request
Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk has submitted a transfer request.
The Dutch centre-back says he is insulted at suggestions that he has refused to train with the Saints and made it clear that he wants to leave St Mary’s this summer.
A statement released by Van Dijk read: “It is with regret I can confirm I have today handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton. I feel I have no alternative after I was given notice of the club’s intention to impose a disciplinary sanction against me of a fine equivalent to two weeks’ wages. I will be appealing what I feel to be an unjustified sanction and their inability to follow the correct disciplinary protocol in due course.
“Over the past six months I have held numerous discussions with representatives of the board, the former manager Claude Puel as well as the new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to inform them all of my desire to leave in search of a new challenge.
“I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfil my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer. 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 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.
“I had very much hoped to retain the good relationship I’ve always enjoyed with everyone at the club, especially the fans, but in light of everything that’s happened this has now been seriously affected. I have nothing but gratitude to everyone at Southampton for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League.
“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.”
The 26-year-old came close to joining Liverpool earlier this summer, but the deal collapsed when Saints accused the Merseysiders of an illegal approach. Despite issuing a statement declaring they had ended their interest in Van Dijk, the Reds are thought to still be keen to sign him.
Reports today suggested that Premier League champions Chelsea are also in the running to sign Van Dijk.
The Southampton skipper was omitted from a recent pre-season tour to France by Pellegrino amid suggestions that he was not in the right frame of mind to travel with the squad.
He has been training alone for much of pre-season.