Daily Echo:

Virgil van Dijk has continued his Saints stand-off as he tries to force his way out of the club.

Saints had hoped that the Dutch centre half would accept the club’s decision not to sell him this summer and re-join Mauricio Pellegrino’s squad having been forced to train alone while his teammates continued their pre-season preparations in France last week.

However, van Dijk is understood to have told Saints there is no change in his situation, leading the club to inform him that they are also standing firm.

It leaves van Dijk still ordered to train away from the rest of the squad just a week-and-a-half before the start of the Premier League season, and Pellegrino having to plan for facing Swansea without him.

The two sides do appear to have become even further entrenched in their views.

Van Dijk is still clear that he wants to leave, despite having five years remaining on his contract, with Liverpool reportedly keen to sign him.

Saints, on the other hand, have consistently maintained that he is not for sale and are staying strong in the hope the 26-year-old will relent.

At this stage neither side appears to be sure exactly how this will play out.

Having spurned this latest olive branch, it is hard to see van Dijk backing down before the close of the transfer window, and even then his position in the eyes of many supporters has become untenable.

Saints are desperate not to lose face having been so solid on this issue, and having been accused of giving in too easily to player demands in the past.

But the reality is they have an asset worth £60m or more, who is probably also the best player in the squad, effectively doing nothing of any constructive use to them, and all the while how it affects spirit in the dressing room remains a key concern for Pellegrino.

Liverpool are remaining quiet about van Dijk having been alleged of tapping-up by Saints earlier in the window, but media close to the club still report the Reds are keen to get a deal done.

However, reports suggest, they want Saints to indicate they are prepared to do sell before making any approach. That would in theory mean Saints getting so frustrated by the current stalemate that they decide to sell and be done with it.

Whatever happens it is difficult for Pellegrino, who is trying to establish himself at the club, while the fans will also remain concerned not only by van Dijk’s actions but by the fact it is overshadowing what should be an exciting build-up to the new campaign.