Chelsea transfer target Virgil van Dijk has been training on his own as Southampton prepare for the new season and had previously denied claims he refused to join up with the first-team.
The Dutch international hasn’t revealed his desire to quit the Saints all along, but he has now confirmed that he has handed out a transfer request.
Van Dijk said the club’s decision to begin disciplinary proceedings against him has forced him to hand in a transfer request.
“It is with regret that I can confirm that I have today handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton Football Club,” he explains.
“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.”
He also revealed that he’s frustrated with the club’s decision not to sell him against his wish.
He added: “I have been left frustrated by the club’s position that I am not for sale and am disappointed that enquiries from multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed.”
The centre-back claimed that it was the manager who banished him from training and it wasn’t his personal decision.
“As a proud professional I am insulted by the suggestion that it was me who refused to train and so feel it is important to point out the true version of events,” he continued.
“I have consistently relayed my feelings to senior management at Southampton in what I believed to be private and personal conversations. Disappointingly, these conversations have regularly found their way into the media.
“I had very much hoped to retain the good relationship I’ve always enjoyed with everyone at the club, especially the fans, but unfortunately in light of everything that’s happened this has now been seriously affected.
“I would like to make clear that I have nothing but gratitude to everyone at Southampton for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League.
“However, the time for me to move on is now and I hope to be able to work with the club to find the best resolution to suit all parties.”
Van Dijk is being targeted by Chelsea and Liverpool, and his links with Chelsea have grown strongly in recent times.