Dick Advocaat gives backing to Virgil van Dijk as defender targets Southampton exit

Virgil van Dijk of Southampton
Image: Virgil van Dijk is currently not training with the Southampton first-team squad

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.

Dick Advocaat will manage Netherlands for a third time
Image: Dick Advocaat has backed the Netherlands defender on a proposed move away from Southampton

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."

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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.

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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.

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