SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk handed in a transfer request on Monday after being frustrated the English Premier League club rejected approaches to sign him from "multiple top clubs."
The Netherlands international escalated his bid to leave the south-coast club after discovering he was being fined two weeks' wages as a disciplinary sanction.
Liverpool had been pursuing the 26-year-old van Dijk but dropped its interest in June and apologized to Southampton. But van Dijk has subsequently been linked with a move to Chelsea.
"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," he said in a statement. "I want to play European football again and challenge for major honors and as such 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."
Van Dijk said it was with "regret" that he handed in a transfer request and he hopes the club finds the "best resolution" to allow him to join a new team.
"Over the past six months I have held numerous discussions with representatives of the board, the former manager Claude Puel as well as the new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to inform them all of my desire to leave the club in search of a new challenge," van Dijk said.
"I have consistently relayed my feelings to senior management at Southampton in what I believed to be private and personal conversations," he added. "Disappointingly, these conversations have regularly found their way into the media."
Southampton plays its first league match against Swansea on Saturday.