Virgil van Dijk has been ordered to train alone after informing Southampton that he wants to leave the club this summer.
Adam Leitch of the Daily Echo reports that van Dijk told Mauricio Pellegrino that he’s “not available to play because he wants to leave.”
The Saints boss subsequently told the Dutch defender he would have to train alone until such a time he is in a mental state to rejoin the Southampton team. His teammates are jetting off to France for pre-season preparations but their captain will not join them.
Van Dijk will train alone at Southampton’s training ground Staplewood after being banished from Southampton’s training setup.
“The boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. This is the decision,” said Pellegrino of his decision to exclude van Dijk from pre-season preparations.
“I had to say ‘if you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK then you have to train alone until this period of time happens.’
“Now he is not involved with the team because psychologically he is not 100 per cent. If you are not 100 per cent with the team I need to work with the players who are 1000 per cent to defend Southampton. It’s easy for me.”
From Liverpool’s point of view, van Dijk being banished from training is a positive development in their pursuit of the Dutchman but is not indicative of a deal for the defender being close.
Adam Leitch reports that Southampton remain confident that they will be able to hold onto Virgil van Dijk, especially after he signed a new six-year deal last year.
If van Dijk is still hell bent on a move to Liverpool in a week’s time when Southampton return from France, it might be that the defender moves but the Reds will almost certainly have to pay silly money to sign him.
A fee in the region of £60-75 million is not out of the question as van Dijk is one the Premier League’s top defenders with five years left on his contract, which hasn’t got a release clause in it.
For now, Liverpool will need to continue patiently playing the waiting game.