Football

Southampton will not sell want-away Virgil van Dijk – Pellegrino

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has said Virgil van Dijk no longer wants to play for the club but stressed that the defender is not for sale.

Last month, Van Dijk — the subject of aborted interest from Premier League rivals Liverpool earlier in the summer — was left out of the squad for a training camp in France after saying he wanted to leave.

And speaking after his side had been beaten 4-0 at home by German side Augsburg in a preseason friendly, Pellegrino said the 26-year-old would not be sold.

“We continue in the same way,” he said. “The situation is the same.

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“I can’t say more, because the situation is that the boy is aside from the team because he doesn’t want to play for us.

“I would like to bring the boy and to persuade him that he’s important for us and the club will not sell him.

“We are expecting the best for everyone, even for Virgil, but he doesn’t want to be part of the team.”

Van Dijk had been targeted by Liverpool, but the Merseysiders were forced into a climbdown after claims that he had agreed to join them when they had not registered a bid.

That led to an apology and public withdrawal of interest after an allegation of tapping up was made to the Premier League.

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However, Liverpool have tried to restore their relationship with Saints and reports indicate they would be interested in reigniting their interest should they be given any indication that Van Dijk is available.

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