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Southampton players would welcome back Van Dijk with open arms

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Southampton midfielder Steven Davis insists wantaway star Virgil van Dijk would be welcomed back with open arms if he decided to stay with the club.

Van Dijk handed in a transfer request last week after criticising Southampton’s refusal to listen to offers for him.

Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher urged manager Jurgen Klopp to move for Van Dijk after the Reds were held 3-3 at Watford over the weekend, but Davis would be happy to see his teammate stay at St Mary’s.

“It’s a situation Virgil has got to deal with himself,” Davis told Sky Sports.

“Nobody else is living in that moment so nobody knows what’s going through his head.

“But we’re all there to support him and we’d welcome him back with open arms.

“That goes without question because of the quality that he’s got.”

Van Dijk has made 68 appearances in all competitions for Southampton since his move from Celtic in 2015.

The Netherlands centre-back demanded a move after saying his relationship with the club has become “seriously affected” due their refusal to allow him to talk to other teams.

Liverpool heavily pursued a deal for Van Dijk during the summer, but dropped their interest after Southampton reported them to the Premier League for an alleged illegal approach.

Chelsea and Manchester City have also been linked with a move for the defender, but Saints have maintained the 26-year-old is not for sale.

Despite missing Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Swansea City with a virus, Davis’ comments offer some hope to Saints fans that a resolution can be found to the situation.

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