Virgil van Dijk has been responsible for sparking a major development that Liverpool will deem as a significant boost in their pursuit of the Dutchman.
The central defender has been banished to train alone after informing Southampton he wants to leave the club this summer, according to the Daily Echo’s Adam Leitch.
Van Dijk sits high on Jurgen Klopp’s transfer wishlist and had already previously set his heart on a move to Anfield having met with the Reds boss.
Contact between the two resulted in the Saints issuing a complaint against an apparent illegal pursuit, leading Liverpool to supposedly ending interest in the player.
There has since been a quiet confidence that a deal may still be possible were his reported £70million asking price met, although Southampton have also reiterated that they have no intention of negotiating with Liverpool.
The deal seems to have taken a notable turn with Van Dijk expressing his desire to move elsewhere ahead of the new Premier League season.
Saints manager Mauricio Pellegrino said: “The boy said that he is no available to play because he wants to leave. This is the decision.”
“I had to say ‘if you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK then you have to train alone until this period of time happens’.”
“My relationship with Virgil is excellent. I was clear with the boy, and I was talking from the first day with him.”
“The club was clear. The club told me they will not sell Virgil. I translated the idea of the club to the player and for me it was easy because I had to manage the dynamic of the team.”
“I hope that Virgil can review his feelings because you know that today a player is big business.”
Southampton are refusing to budge from an adamance their star defender is not for sale with Liverpool’s history of luring players from St Mary’s seemingly a sore subject.
Van Dijk signed a new six-year contract last summer, somewhat explaining not only his hefty valuation but also the complications surrounding his wish to leave.
A long-running saga is about to get even more complicated.