Why Virgil van Dijk was left out of Southampton squad...as our sources suggest a transfer is close
Virgil van Dijk has been left out of the Southampton squad for Saturday’s game against Huddersfield, with Independent.ie understanding the club have accepted their Dutch centre-back will leave the club in the January transfer window.
Southampton stood firm in their decision not to sell Van Dijk in last summer’s transfer window after several unsolicited approaches for the players from clubs including Liverpool.
Van Dijk then made it clear that he was keen to join Liverpool and handed in a transfer request in a bid to force a move to Anfield, but Southampton refused to open talks over the player’s future and vowed to reconsider their position in the January transfer window.
Independent.ie reported last August that Southampton would be willing to listen to offers for Van Dijk if the player failed to re-engage with their club’s ambitions in the final months of 2017 and they are now open to selling a player whose valuation remains at £70m.
Van Dijk’s availability to play in the knock-out phase of the Champions League means he is a valuable asset for Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea to chase, with the player making it clear in recent days that he remains determined to leave the club to further his ambitions.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is fully aware of the stance taken by Van Dijk and he has now opted not to use the defender for last week’s game at Chelsea and the home game against Huddersfield today.
"Virgil, we know there will be a lot of speculation about him he's important player but I can't say anything right now," stated the Saints boss after his side's 1-1 draw with Huddersfield.
"I decided that was best for this moment. This is the reason. I am responsible for picking 11 players, and I intend to pick the best for the team.
"Around him will be a lot of speculation and we have to wait to see what happens.
"Van Dijk's future? I don’t know, we’ll have to wait, but I will repeat, there will be a lot of speculation around him. We have to wait."
"He was available for this game, but we have other games to come and this was the decision. He is training and training well, but this is the team we wanted for today."
Southampton are believed to have agreed the basis of a deal with a club that could provide his former club Celtic with a cash windfall next month as they are entitled to a slice of his sell-on fee when he finally makes a move.