Van Dijk ‘not for sale’ – chairman

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Virgil van Dijk: Southampton will not sell defender – Ralph Krueger

Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk is “not for sale”, according to club chairman Ralph Krueger.

The Netherlands centre-back, 26, handed in a transfer request last week and it is understood he wanted to move to Premier League rivals Liverpool.

“Virgil is not for sale in this window – it’s not personal,” he said of the player that joined the club in 2015.

“It’s not about him, it’s about an overall much, much, much bigger picture – a change of course for Southampton.”

On Monday, Chinese businessman Jisheng Gao and his family completed a deal to buy 80% of the south coast club.

Krueger suggested that the Saints wanted some stability in their squad, adding: “We want to mature, we want to be a team that can profit from synergies that create a much more attractive football and a better product for the fans, and gives us a chance to get back into Europe.

“That’s one player in this whole equation of 25 and it is the visible one. But for us it’s the principle and it’s the path and it’s the statement we need to make to get to a new space as a club.

“We are very, very adamant about carrying this through.”

Van Dijk did not feature in Saturday’s Premier League opener against Swansea because of a virus. Saints manager Mauricio Pellegrino, who ordered the Dutchman to train alone in the summer, said before the weekend that he wants the defender to stay.

The Netherlands international been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool this summer as well as attracting interest from Premier League champions Chelsea and Manchester City.

However, the Anfield club said they ended their interest in June after Saints said they were going to report them to the Premier League for making an alleged illegal approach.

Van Dijk signed a new six-year contract in May 2016, having joined for £13m from Celtic in September 2015.

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