Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk hands in transfer request

Virgil van Dijk has been linked with a number of top clubs in recent months and earlier this summer,

Liverpool were forced to apologise after being accused by the Saints of ‘tapping up’ the Dutchman, who is valued at least £50m.

Chelsea have also expressed interest in the 26-year-old centre-back, who has now made public his desire to depart St Mary’s before the transfer window closes.

In a lengthy statement issued this evening, Van Dijk said: “It is with regret that I can confirm that I have today handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton Football Club.

“Unfortunately I feel I have no alternative after I was given notice of the club’s intention to impose a disciplinary sanction against me of a fine equivalent to 2 weeks wages. I will be appealing what I feel to be an unjustified sanction and their inability to follow the correct disciplinary protocol in due course.

“Over the past six months I have held numerous discussions with representatives of the board, the former manager Claude Puel as well as the new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to inform them all of my desire to leave the club in search of a new challenge.

“I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfil my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer. 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.”

Van Dijk joined Southampton from Celtic in September 2015 for a reported fee of £13m.

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