Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has warned mutinous captain Virgil van Dijk he is not bigger than the club.
Van Dijk will be conspicuous by his absence against Swansea today after Pellegrino claimed the Dutchman had been struck down by a virus.
It comes days after Van Dijk publicly issued a transfer request in the hope of forcing through a £60million move to Liverpool.
Pellegrino said: ‘The problem here is that Virgil is one of the most important players. But there isn’t one player more important than the 11 players playing together.
‘Virgil is an important player but the club were clear from the beginning with him. We cannot control every situation and Virgil is part of our club because he has a contract. The player is clear with his position but we have to keep going because I can’t control the thinking of the player at this moment.’
Van Dijk has been training alone since informing Pellegrino that he wants to leave, but Southampton are adamant he will not be sold.
The former Celtic centre back signed a six-year contract last year to become the highest paid player in the club’s history.
Pellegrino added: ‘He won’t be available this weekend as he had some trouble with a virus and hasn’t trained the last two days.
‘We are expecting him to come back and hopefully he can change his point of view.’
The saga has dominated the early weeks of Pellegrino’s reign after the former Liverpool defender was named as successor to the sacked Claude Puel.