Dutch defender to stay in England as he appears to edge even closer to the Saints exit door
VIRGIL VAN DIJK has been left out of Southampton’s squad for the pre-season tour of France.
The Dutch defender’s omission from the 25-man party will raise further doubts about his future at the Saints.
The £60million-rated star is wanted by both Liverpool and Manchester City.
Jurgen Klopp has identified the 26-year-old as his No1 defensive target.
However, he was forced to cool his interest after Southampton threatened to report the Reds for making an illegal approach for their centre-half, forcing the Merseysiders to apologise.
But that has not deterred the Anfield club, who are waiting for the green light from Southampton to lodge another bid for the ace.
Blues boss Antonio Conte is also keen on the former Celtic man, who has been training alone on the South Coast.
And both clubs will no doubt be boosted to see Van Dijk left out of Mauricio Pellegrino’s squad.
He travelled on the Saints’ previous pre-season training camp to Austria earlier this month.
But former Liverpool man Pellegrino has opted against taking him to Evain-les-Bains.
SunSport reported last week how Van Dijk had expressed his desire to his employers to join Liverpool.
Klopp is ready to smash his club’s transfer record to bring him to Merseyside.
The ex-Dortmund boss is prepared to spend big for the right targets having secured Champions League football for next season.
Virgil van Dijk – The lowdown on the Dutch defender Jurgen Klopp is desperate to sign
- Van Dijk was born in Breda, Holland, on July 8 1991.
- He grew up pretending to be Ronaldinho when he played street football.
- He spent a year with Willem II as a youth before moving to Groningen.
- After graduating from their academy in 2011 Van Dijk played 66 times for the Eredivisie club over three seasons, scoring seven times.
- Celtic gave Van Dijk his break in British football by moving in 2013 and the Dutchman quickly established himself in their first team.
- The 6ft 4ins defender’s form saw Southampton make a move in 2015 and after 68 appearances in two seasons Champions League clubs are circling.
- Van Dijk’s international career began in 2015 and he has since played 12 times for his country.
- Pundit Tony Cascarino described van Dijk as “even better and quicker than Rio Ferdinand”.
RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita is another top priority but the move has hit the rocks.
The Bundesliga outfit are playing hardball over one of their brightest talents and rejected a huge £66m offer last week.
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