Van Dijk set for future talks amid new Man City and Barcelona links

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The centre-back's future is once again the subject of speculation, leading to him being left out of the squad for the Boxing Day clash

Mauricio Pellegrino says Southampton will discuss the possibility of selling Virgil van Dijk in January after he was left out of the clash with Tottenham Hotspur amid renewed links to Manchester City, Liverpool and Barcelona.

The centre-back was denied a move in the summer despite submitting a transfer request after attracting interest from Pep Guardiola's side and Liverpool, and he was subsequently exiled from the first team until September.

Van Dijk has been key for the Saints since then, but the approaching winter transfer window has reignited reports that a big move is imminent.

The Telegraph in the UK reported on Tuesday that City are expected to complete a £60 million move for the 26-year-old next month, while Sport in Spain claims Barca are hoping to land him.

The ex-Groningen star was absent for Southampton's Boxing Day game with Spurs, but Pellegrino was quiet when asked why he would not feature at Wembley.

"With Virgil, there is a lot of speculation, but we have to wait and see until January and then we can talk," he told Sky Sports.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino admitted he did not know what would happen with Van Dijk going into the new year.

"We have to wait until January. I can't control the market, so we'll see what happens," he told reporters after a demoralising 5-2 defeat without Van Dijk at Wembley.

"I decided it's best for the team and there has been a lot speculation.

"The manager decides what is the best. We win, draw and lose with and without Virgil.

"In this squad, I have a lot of players that can play. We are used to changes. We can't use this performance as an excuse."

Pellegrino, whose side have now won just once in their last 11 top-flight matches, also addressed whether the club's decision to rebuff Liverpool's earlier interest in Van Dijk had ultimately placed his first season in charge at St Mary's under a cloud.

"We tried to do the best for the team," said the ex-Alaves coach, who endured sections of the travelling Southampton support at Wembley signing "you're getting sacked in the morning".

"The board decided to try to keep our best player at the club.

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"This situation is a big learning curve for everybody and now we decide what is the best for the club.

"He's part of our club and he's an important player for us, but we'll see what happens. I can't control the whispers and news from outside."

The Netherlands international joined the St Mary's outfit in 2015 from Celtic, where he scored 15 goals in 115 first-team appearances.

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