In Focus: Southampton need to plan for life without Van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk has hinted in an interview with Fox Sports that he is open to leaving Southampton in January, reports The Guardian.

What’s the word?

It is no secret that the defender tried to orchestrate a move away from St Mary’s in the summer.

The 26-year-old tabled a transfer request in August amid interest from Liverpool, but the Saints stood firm and refused to sanction a sale.

Despite the former Celtic man’s public criticism of the club’s refusal to consider other offers, the defender is being reintegrated into the squad.

Van Dijk made his first start of the season for the Saints in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium.

The centre-back now risks the wrath of Southampton fans by revealing that he has “no regrets” about trying to leave in the summer.

According to The Guardian, Van Dijk told Fox Sports:

“Halfway through the season, maybe we can see what’s possible. I have no regrets. I wanted to go one step up, but eventually Southampton did not want to let me go. You’re a professional, so now I’ll give everything to the club.”

Should Southampton sell in January?

Even though Van Dijk has claimed that he will give his all to Southampton, he has made it clear that he is not committed for the long haul.

It makes sense to offload a player that does not have the desire to be there, but January is a tricky window.

A lot will depend on where Mauricio Pellegrino’s team are in the table and if Van Dijk is a key figure at the back.

A potential problem could be the defender’s mindset and the risk of him causing disruption within the squad at what could be a crucial time of the campaign.

If Van Dijk’s stance does not waver, then it may be best for the Saints to cut ties.