Wantaway van Dijk eyes move to Reds

LONDON • Virgil van Dijk has accused Southampton of sabotaging his career after submitting a transfer request in an attempt to force his exit from the English Premier League club.

Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal are all keen to sign the Dutchman, who also said he was insulted by claims that he refused to train with Mauricio Pellegrino's squad.

Southampton have responded to the development by maintaining that van Dijk, whose last appearance was in January when he injured his ankle, is not for sale.

That stance will continue to be tested before the transfer window closes at the end of the month, given that they could secure a fee of between £50 million (S$88.73 million) and £70 million for a defender whose relationship with club officials has deteriorated further.

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Van Dijk's preference is a move to Liverpool, who withdrew their interest earlier in the summer after being accused of tapping up the player, but Chelsea and Arsenal will hope that Southampton refuse a deal with the Anfield club.

The 26-year-old said that his transfer request was triggered after he was fined two weeks' wages for failing to make himself available for pre-season games, and added that he was frustrated and disappointed by the club's unwillingness to do business with his suitors.

"It is with regret that I can confirm that I have handed in a transfer request," the centre back said in a statement.

"Unfortunately I feel I have no alternative after I was given notice of the club's intention to impose a disciplinary sanction against me. I will be appealing what I feel to be an unjustified sanction and their inability to follow the correct disciplinary protocol in due course.

"I am incredibly ambitious. I want to play European football again and challenge for major honours and, as such, I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist."

He also denied that he had refused to train to force a transfer.

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Wantaway van Dijk eyes move to Reds'. Print Edition | Subscribe