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Saints chairman's blow to Liverpool van Dijk hopes

The Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger is adamant that Liverpool's top summer target Virgil van Dijk is "not for sale in this window" as keeping the defender is "the statement we need to make" at this juncture.

This summer has been dominated by speculation about the unsettled 26-year-old centre-back, who has reportedly told the south coast club he wishes to move to Anfield.

Southampton asked the Premier League to investigate an alleged illegal approach from Liverpool in June, leading the Reds to swiftly make a remarkable statement publicly dropping their interest in van Dijk.

Virgil Van Dijk - not for sale Credit: PA Pictures

The central defender last week took matters into his own hands by handing in a transfer request.

Van Dijk has been training away from the main group as he attempts to force an exit, but Saints chairman Krueger has reiterated that the defender is not going anywhere.

"Virgil is not for sale in this window and it's not personal," the chairman said.

"It's not about him, it's about an overall much, much, much bigger picture - a change of course for Southampton.''

The Krueger statement is a blow to Liverpool's hopes of strengthening their fragile defence, which looked shaky in the Premier League 3-3 opener at Watford.