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Van Dijk hands in transfer request at Southampton

Virgil van Dijk news

van Dijk has now handed in an official transfer request to Southampton

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has officially handed in a transfer request to his current employers as he looks to force a move away from the club. The Dutch international said that the reason for the request was that wants "to play European football again and challenge for major honours."

Speculation about van Dijk's future has been present since the turn of the year, with some of the Premier League's top clubs being linked with the former Celtic man. 

Liverpool and Chelsea currently lead the race for his signature, with reports suggesting that he would currently opt for a move to Anfield. Van Dijk expressed "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."

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has spoken recently about how much he wanted to keep his captain at St Mary's, but also revealed that van Dijk was training alone and wanted to leave. 

Suggestions are being made that van Dijk handed in a transfer request after being told that he would be fined two weeks wages by the club. In a frustrated statement, he added "I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist. I can confirm that I was asked about my frame of mind and for all of the reasons mentioned above I was open and honest in saying that I did not feel I was in a settled mindset given the circumstances. I would also like to make clear that I have never once refused to train."

Now that it is confirmed that Virgil van Dijk will leave Southampton, the "ifs" become "whens" and we wait to see which club that he will move to and for what sort of fee.