Virgil van Dijk has continued his standoff with Southampton as the Dutchman looks to move away from the south coast club this summer.
Adam Leitch of the Daily Echo reports that Southampton were hopeful that van Dijk would accept the club’s decision not to sell him and reintegrate him with his teammates upon their return to training in England after a camp in France.
However, the Dutchman has told Saints that he has not had a change of heart, “leading the club to inform him that they are also standing firm.”
With just 10 days to go until Southampton’s first Premier League game of the season against Swansea, Pellegrino has a real dilemma on his hands.
He now needs to prepare for the first game of the season, and perhaps more, with the knowledge that his captain and best player won’t be available.
Van Dijk is giving no indication that he is going to back down but then again, neither are Southampton who are just as determined to keep the Dutchman as he is to leave the club.
Although he still has five years remaining of a six-year contract, van Dijk is desperate to leave the club. Adam Leitch writes, “At this stage, neither side appears to be sure exactly how this will play out.”
It’s a tricky situation for all parties involved, Liverpool included. As much as the Reds have been painted as the villains in this scenario after their ‘tapping up’ antics, the Anfield outfit are heading into the new season without having bought a new centre-half and their pursuit of van Dijk is an extremely risky one.
Although Saints are determined to hold onto van Dijk, the situation doesn’t look promising for them. With their captain on strike a week and a half away from the new season, it’s certainly a situation most managers would prefer to avoid.
On the matter, Leitch writes, “they [Southampton] have an asset worth £60m or more, who is probably also the best player in the squad, effectively doing nothing of any constructive use to them, and all the while how it affects spirit in the dressing room remains a key concern for Pellegrino.”
With the month of August underway and the Premier League season creeping ominously close for both Liverpool and Southampton, it will be an interesting saga to watch unravel for the neutral to see where van Dijk lands up.
In all honesty, my best bet would be that van Dijk will end up at Liverpool unless he has a change of heart which seems wholly unlikely.
On that note, if van Dijk continues refusing to train and play for Southampton, Pellegrino may be left with no choice but to sell the player or let him rot in the reserves and for a business-savvy club like Southampton, that’s not an option.