'Virgil is an important part of the club' - Pellegrino hoping Van Dijk can be reintegrated with Saints

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The defender may have asked to leave Southampton, but the manager hopes the defender can be persuaded to stay

Mauricio Pellegrino hopes the Virgil van Dijk transfer saga will have a happy ending for Southampton, despite the Dutch defender handing in a transfer request.

Van Dijk was heavily linked with a move to Liverpool earlier in the transfer window, but the Anfield outlet dropped their interest and apologised after being accused of allegedly tapping up the 26-year-old.

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However, the rumours have failed to disappear and Van Dijk looked to try and force a move away in a statement ahead of the new Premier League season.

The defender said he was left with "no alternative" after being fined two weeks' wages by the club and seeing "enquiries from multiple top clubs consistently rebuffed".

Van Dijk did not feature under new boss Pellegrino throughout pre-season and was again absent as the Saints opened their Premier League campaign with a 0-0 draw with Swansea City at St Mary's Stadium.

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Speaking after the draw Pellegrino talked of his hope that a resolution could be found that would see Van Dijk reintegrated with his squad in the coming weeks.

"When you are outside the team you have to be behind them, supporting them," said Pellegrino. 

"Hopefully he can change his point of view to be with us in the next few weeks. I've talked with him twice, and the club was clear with him.

"I think all of us at the club, the technical director, me as a manager, we know that Virgil is an important part of the club.

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"But we need him in another way, not like the way he is right now."

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He added: "I can't manage all the situations like some players being outside the team, it's not my responsibility.

"But it's a pity because the people deserve to see the best players in the pitch. It happens and we have to keep going."

 

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