Chelsea and Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk has finally handed in a transfer request at Southampton as he seeks to engineer a move away from the St Mary’s outfit this summer?.

The Netherlands international put himself on the market with some fine displays throughout the first half of last season and wants to switch clubs, but the Saints are continuing to play hardball.

The player’s statement, obtained by Sky Sports, reads: “I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I can to fulfil my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer.

“I want to play European football again and challenge for major honours and as such I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist.”

Liverpool had been hot on the player’s trail earlier this summer, but were forced to back off after the Saints threatened to report them to various authorities for tapping up.

He has since been left out of training with the first team, with certain reports claiming that he had opted to make himself unavailable for practice with the rest of the squad.

But Van Dijk’s statement strongly denies these allegations, and he describes himself as feeling quite insulted by the suggestions of him absenting himself from training.

Premier League title holders Chelsea have also been monitoring the Dutchman, and are reported as readying a bid for the player. Figures at the London side are thought to be very optimistic, given the soured relationship between the Reds and Saints. And this latest development should prove a huge boost.

“As a proud professional I am truly 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,” Van Dijk continued.

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