Pellegrino warns van Dijk: No player is bigger than the club

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has warned star defender Virgil van Dijk that no player is bigger than the club, following the centre-back’s transfer request earlier this week.

Virgil van Dijk has been heavily linked with a move to one of the Premier League’s top four and it seems increasingly likely that he’ll leave St. Mary’s for a hefty transfer fee in the next month or so.

However, despite plenty of interest from all – Southampton are eager to keep hold of him, not only to prove a point but to retain a player who only signed an improved six-year contract extension twelve months ago.

Perhaps it was a smart way of increasing his transfer value, since van Dijk hasn’t played since sustaining a knee injury in January. However, he has recovered over the summer months and posted workout videos on social media with plenty of supporters hopeful that he’d return sooner rather than later.

Instead, he missed Southampton’s goalless draw against Swansea yesterday with a “virus”.

Pellegrino said the following yesterday, according to the Mirror:

“The problem here is that Virgil is one of the most important players. But there isn’t one player more important than the 11 players playing together. We cannot control every situation and Virgil is part of our club because he has a contract.”

Will he stay, or will he go?

It’s evidently not something that Pellegrino will want to deal with for a sustained period of time, especially having only replaced the sacked Claude Puel as Saints boss last month.

van Dijk has been training in isolation recently and despite making his intention clear that he’d like a move to step-up, a £50m price-tag hasn’t deterred suitors.

Liverpool were reportedly frontrunners for his signature, though both Manchester clubs are said to have monitored the Dutchman’s situation. Chelsea were also linked before signing Roma’s Antonio Rudiger, while Arsenal could potentially be inclined to make a formal approach if Wenger manages to sell a handful of the unwanted players who continue to clog the club’s wage bill.

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