Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has reiterated a desire to keep whole of Virgil van Dijk, despite the defender’s well-known desire to leave the club.
The Dutchman recently informed Saints officials of his wish to move on in this transfer window but was met with a stern insistence he would not be sold and subsequently made to train alone.
Van Dijk remains Jurgen Klopp’s priority transfer target and reportedly the one and only centre-back the German is keen on bringing to Liverpool this summer.
Though the player is yet to have reintegrated with the Southampton squad, Pellegrino believes his star defender can still be convinced to change his mind.
“I would like to bring the boy and to persuade him that he’s important for us and the club will not sell him,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“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. 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.”
Unfortunately for Liverpool, RB Leizpig’s firm stance over the Reds’ recent pursuit of Naby Keita could well prove to have been a precedent and thereby given Southampton the belief they can keep hold of their man.
That said, a formal transfer request is likely to have a more significant impact in England than it would in Germany.
Liverpool know just how difficult it is to change the mind of a player who has set his heart on a move elsewhere and just how common it is for this to be a decisive factor.
Signing Van Dijk, especially when considering Southampton’s reluctance, would be likely to cost upwards of £60million- a world record fee for a defender.
This one promises to go to the wire- not that Reds didn’t already know that.