Van Dijk hands in transfer request

Virgil van Dijk is on the move. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Virgil van Dijk has handed in a transfer request to Southampton.

The Dutch defender, 26, who joined the club from Celtic in 2015 and is a long-term transfer target for Liverpool, insists he is acting having had "numerous" discussions during the past six months about his wish to leave.

In a statement released by his management company he also said that he intended to appeal against a club fine of two weeks' wages, that his desire to leave owes to his ambition, and that enquiries from "multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed".

"It is with regret that I can confirm that I have handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton Football Club," Van Dijk said.

Van Dijk continued: "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."

Van Dijk joined Southampton for £13million when his compatriot Ronald Koeman was manager. After reports emerged in June that he was on the verge of a £60million transfer to Liverpool, Southampton reported them to the Premier League for making an alleged illegal approach. Liverpool apologised, before also insisting they had "ended any interest in the player".