Sky Sports reporter Jane Dougall has been told that Southampton will not be entertaining any bids for Virgil Van Dijk this summer, despite interest from Arsenal and other big clubs.
The Dutch defender is believed to be on the radar of Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool for much of the summer, which led to a player handing in a transfer request.
It was believed that personal terms had been agreed with the Reds at one point, only for the Saints to force an apology from the Anfield club for their unethical pursuit.
The 26 year-old has since been forced to train alone at the south-coast club, and has arrived today to do so again.
Dougall said: “Virgil Van Dijk has arrived for training this morning but he drove through a back gate, presumably to avoid the cameras who are here waiting to see if he’ll stay here or not.
“He’s been training every single day, we’ve been told, but on his own. That follows him handing in a transfer request earlier this month. Vice Chairman Les Reed has even said he would be alongside new players coming in to the club.
“Recently-appointed manager Mauricio Pellegrino has been saying he is not for sale but also not available to play. It’s been reiterated to me this morning that even a late bid comes in for Van Dijk it will be flatly turned down.”
This is an interesting stance to take on a player who you have exiled to train alone, and a player who clearly wants to leave, but you would have to expect a change in situation once the window closes. With the World Cup next summer you would expect Van Dijk to be willing to play for the club despite his treatment, although Southampton could just be haggling for a sizeable fee.
Watch this space… Would they really force him to train alone and then refuse to sell? Which other targets could strengthen our back-line?