The Dutch international seemed on course to leave St Mary’s for Liverpool earlier in the summer but instead found himself at the centre of controversy when Southampton reported their Premier League rivals to the football authorities for ‘tapping up’ the former Celtic player.
Van Dijk, who joined Southampton two years ago in a £13m deal from the Scottish champions, told his new manager that he wanted to leave the Hampshire-based club. He was, Pellegrino declared, “100 per cent with the team”. The Argentinean informed the player that he would be left to train on his own until the situation was resolved.
Arsenal were interested in signing the Dutchman when he was north of the border but Southampton beat them to the punch. The Gunners are one of the clubs rumoured to be interested in signing him, with the switch to a back three requiring Arsène Wenger to strengthen his defence.
The situation is complicated however. Pellegrino informed the press that the Southampton board have not intention of selling the player which puts them on a collision course with a pivotal member of their squad.