He thinks the Dutchman’s relationship with Southampton is so sour and poisoned that he won’t actually work his way back into the team and will belatedly leave in January.
Merson reckons that their refusal to sell was more to prove they cannot be bullied out of their best players rather than anything more sensible.
Mauricio Pellegrini has claimed he sees a way back for the skipper, but following that inflammatory statement, and the fact Southampton are keeping clean-sheets anyway, there’s no guarantee van Dijk won’t continue his sulk.
“People will look at Southampton and say they’ve kept Virgil van Dijk, but I honestly don’t think he will play,” Merson told Sky Sports, cited in the Express.
“They have kept an unhappy player and after everything that has gone on there I’d be shocked if he gets back in the team.
“I think they will get rid of him in January when someone will pay silly money.