Dick Advocaat gives backing to Virgil van Dijk as defender targets Southampton exit
By Nick Lustig
Last Updated: 04/08/17 5:22pm
Netherlands manager Dick Advocaat has given his backing to Virgil van Dijk as he looks to secure a move away from Southampton before the summer transfer window shuts.
Van Dijk has been training away from the first team and played no part in their pre-season matches having told manager Mauricio Pellegrino he wants to leave the club.
Southampton have maintained the Netherlands centre-back, who signed a new five-year deal at St Mary's last summer, is not for sale.
Speaking to Voetbalzone magazine about Van Dijk's attempts to secure a move, Advocaat said: "You can condemn it, but come on, if you can earn five times as much at a top English club, then I understand you're going to take action."
Van Dijk was a target for Liverpool earlier this summer, but the Reds withdrew their interest after Southampton complained to the Premier League over an alleged illegal approach.
The 26-year-old, who has made 68 appearances for the Saints since arriving from Celtic in 2015, was not included in the first-team squad for a training camp in France in July.
Southampton begin the new Premier League season at home to Swansea next Saturday before matches against West Ham (home) on August 19 and newly-promoted Huddersfield (away) on August 26.