Mauricio Pellegrino has refused to confirm the reason why he dropped Virgil van Dijk from the squad for Saints’ defeat to Huddersfield.

The Dutch centre half is at the middle of a storm of transfer speculation with the January window about to open.

He was left on the bench for the defeat at Chelsea but didn’t even make the squad for the 1-1 draw with the Terriers.

Pellegrino said: “I decide it is the best for this moment.

“This is the reason.

“I am responsible to pick the 11 players and I try to pick the best for the team.

“I think around him will be a lot of speculation and we have to wait what happens.”

When asked whether Saints fans have seen the last of van Dijk, Pellegrino replied: “I don’t know.

“We have to wait but I will repeat there will be a lot of speculation around him.”

Pellegrino was then questioned as to if the speculation was the real reason behind his decision to leave out van Dijk, and said: “I don’t have nothing to say about that. I choose the players because I think it’s the best for today.”