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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

After Liverpool 'tapping up' scandal, Virgil van Dijk tells Southampton he wants to leave

The Reds publicly dropped their pursuit of the centre-back but could they go back on their word?

Image: Martin Rickett

VIRGIL VAN DIJK has told Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino that he wants to leave – just weeks after a ‘tapping up’ controversy involving Liverpool.

The Dutch centre-back had been heavily linked with a move to Merseyside at the start of June with reports suggesting he had already met with Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp.

Southampton subsequently reported Liverpool to the Premier League and the club issued an apology and revealed they had ended their pursuit of the 26-year-old.

But, van Dijk has clearly been unsettled and the Saints new boss Pellegrino has now revealed the former Celtic defender has admitted he wants out of St. Mary’s and is training on his own.

“He is not involved with the team because psychologically he is not 100%,” Pellegrino told reporters.

When I was talking with him, the boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. I need to work with a player that works at 100% to defend Southampton.

“I had to say: ‘OK, if you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK, you have to train alone until this period of time’. I want to help the squad, I want to help Virgil but we need a player involved in every training session and not just with the body but with the mind on the pitch with the rest of the players.”

With Liverpool so publicly cooling their interest in van Dijk, it would seem incredibly unlikely they’ll reignite a push to sign him.

Given he will cost about £60m, it means Chelsea and Manchester City are the front-runners for his signature.

But, both have already strengthened their defence already with big acquisitions. Antonio Rudiger has moved to Stamford Bridge while Kyle Walker has joined Pep Guardiola’s side. It’s expected City will also add Monaco’s full-back Benjamin Mendy sooner rather than later while they’re also in the hunt for Real Madrid’s Danilo.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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