Pellegrino admits Van Dijk wants to leave
Manuel Pellegrino has officially confirmed that Liverpool transfer target Virgil Van Dijk wants out of Southampton – despite his best attempts to keep the Liverpool target at the club. However he insists their star defender will not be sold this summer.
Van Dijk is desperate to move to Anfield and become the latest part of Jurgen Klopp’s Reds outfit, and Pellegrino admitted that there was little more that could be done to convince his club captain to stay put.
“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. This is the reason he is aside from the team.”
Southampton rate Van Dijk at around £60m, but have banished the Netherlands international to train on his own away from the first-team squad due to his stance over wanting to head to the north west.
“We continue in the same way. The situation is the same. I can’t say no more, because the situation is the boy is aside of the team because he doesn’t want to play for us.”
Liverpool have been boosted in their pursuit of Van Dijk over his desire to leave the Saints after they initially pulled out of any negotiations due to Southampton threatening to report them to the Football Association.
The Reds had allegedly tapped the 26-year-old up and were forced to cancel their pursuit of him.
Despite Van Dijk stating he wanted to leave Southampton, Pellegrino has said his side’s stance over the defender’s valuation had not changed and that they would insist on a sizeable fee.
Watching Liverpool during pre-season you have to be really impressed with the attacking threat on offer. Salah and Mané interchanging with Firmino so effortlessly, the only question mark is the defence.
Having someone of van Dijk’s calibre would really add value! Van Dijk has the ability to become as important to the Reds as Sami Hyypia, given his preference for playing on the left of a centre-back pairing, seeing him take Lovren’s place next season makes complete sense.
Lovren is still a good defender, but he is also nowhere near good enough to be a Champions League-playing Liverpool regular.
Should they stay fit, Van Dijk could forge a superb partnership with Matip at the heart of Klopp’s defence, and with both still in their mid-20s, it would also represent a long-term solution.
He is an upgrade on anything they currently have, and most defenders in the Premier League too.
So back to the Hyypia reference, could Matip and Van Dijk become our new Hyypia and Henchoz?