Southampton have finally admitted defeat in keeping hold of star defender Virgil Van Dijk.
The Saints are reluctant to lose the highly-rated Dutch defender, but will hold out for £70m in the January transfer window.
Van Dijk, 26, has been dropped by Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino for the last three games.
After being an unused sub against Chelsea, the towering centre half was omitted entirely from the squads Pellegrino picked to play Huddersfield and Tottenham.
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Van Dijk’s future has been subject to much speculation with Manchester City believed to be preparing a £60m bid.
However, Southampton won’t be willing to part with Van Dijk UNLESS they receive a bid of £70m, according to the Mirror.
“We have to wait until January. I can’t control the market, so we’ll see what happens,” Pellegrino said when asked about Van Dijk’s possible transfer.
Explaining his reasons for leaving him out of the squad, Pellegrino explained: “I decided it’s best for the team and there has been a lot speculation.
“The manager decides what is the best. We win, draw and lose with and without Virgil.
“In this squad, I have a lot of players that can play. We are used to changes. We can’t use this performance as an excuse.”
The Saints rejected big bids from Liverpool and Chelsea last summer, and Pellegrino revealed: “We tried to do the best for the team. The board decided to try to keep our best player at the club.
“This situation is a big learning curve for everybody and now we decide what is the best for the club.
“He’s part of our club and he’s an important player for us, but we’ll see what happens. I can’t control the whispers and news from outside.”
Southampton were thrashed 5-2 by Spurs in their Boxing Day fixture, with Harry Kane netting a hat-trick to beat Alan Shearer’s record of most goals in a calendar year.