Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has handed in a transfer request with Liverpool waiting in the wings to sign the Dutchman. The 26-year-old was excluded from training with the first team by manager Mauricio Pellegrino last month.

In a statement, Van Dijk said: "I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist.

"I have been left frustrated by the club's position that I am not for sale and am disappointed that enquiries from multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed.

"I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfil my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer.

"I can confirm that I was asked about my frame of mind and for all of the reasons mentioned above I was open and honest in saying that I did not feel I was in a settled mindset given the circumstances.

"As a proud professional I am insulted by the suggestion that it was me who refused to train and so feel it is important to point out the true version of events.

"I had very much hoped to retain the good relationship I've always enjoyed with everyone at the club, especially the fans, but unfortunately in light of everything that's happened this has now been seriously affected."

Liverpool ended their interest in the former Celtic defender in June after the Saints said they were reporting them to the Premier League for allegedly tapping up the player.

Southampton have previously stated that they would not sell van Dijk.