Virgil van Dijk issues inflammatory statement as he makes a bold bid to secure a move to Liverpool
Liverpool transfer target Virgil van Dijk has broken his silence over his future, after confirming publicly for the first time that he wants to leave Southampton and has finally handed in a transfer request.
Van Dijk has been fined two weeks wages by Southampton after Independent.ie were told he had refused to take part in the club’s pre-season games, although he was keen to point out that he has never refused to train over the course of this summer.
Independent.ie understands that Van Dijk told Southampton officials he wanted to leave the club last May, after he had already held extensive talks with Liverpool and other Premier League clubs over a summer move without getting permission from Saints to hold those talks.
Liverpool were forced to apologise for an illegal approach for Van Dijk, and now the defender has finally made a public comment over his future, in a statement that looks certain to end his time at Southampton.
Confirming he has handed in a transfer request, which may cost him a reported £7m in loyalty payments, the centre-back offered up these inflammatory comments:
“Unfortunately 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 2 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 the club 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 that enquiries 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.”
Southampton have made it clear that they are keen to hang on to all of their best players this summer, yet Van Dijk has suggested the club have been briefing against him in recent weeks.
“I have consistently relayed my feelings to senior management at Southampton in what I believed to be private and personal conversations. Disappointingly, these conversations have regularly found their way into the media,” he added.
“I would also like to make clear that I have never once refused to train. I can confirm that I was asked about my frame of mind and for all of the reasons mentioned above I was open and honest in saying that I did not feel I was in a settled mindset given the circumstances.
“Following this conversation the manager explained that he only wanted players who he felt were 100% committed to Southampton and told me I would therefore have to train away from the first team.
“I had very much hoped to retain the good relationship I've always enjoyed with everyone at the club, especially the fans, but unfortunately in light of everything that's happened this has now been seriously affected.
“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.”