Van Dijk saga not an issue, says Bednarek

Southampton defender Jan Bednarek has stated that the fiasco surrounding fellow Saints centre-back Virgil Van Dijk is having no effect on the rest of the squad.

Van Dijk has rarely been out of the headlines throughout the summer, and could yet still move away from the South Coast after handing in an official transfer request earlier this week.

Training alone

After two highly impressive seasons at Southampton, Van Dijk was naturally linked with a move to bigger and better things, with Liverpool leading the chase for the Dutch international.

However, unlike in previous summers when the Saints have been seemingly more than happy to let their stars leave, they made it clear that the 25-year-old was not for sale.

In spite of having five years left on his contract, Van Dijk was not best pleased, and handed in an official transfer request last Monday, outlining his desires for a move and to play European football.

Van Dijk has seen his attempts to force a move thwarted so far. Photo: Getty.

This attempt from Van Dijk to pressure his current club into selling him has not gone down well with his superiors at Southampton, and he has been forced to train alone for the majority of pre-season. With the Saints' Premier League opener against Swansea less than 24 hours away, his future is still uncertain, although he will not feature tomorrow for definite.

Players unfazed

While the drama continues to unfold behind the scenes at Southampton, Van Dijk's team-mates are determined not to let the saga intervene with their preparations for the start of the season.

Jan Bednarek, who was Southampton's first signing of the summer, believes that "This is his [Van Dijk's] own problem and we have to be separated from this". He continued to emphasise that the "important thing is the team spirit". 

Clearly, Bednarek and the other Southampton players are more than prepared to make do without Van Dijk leading the back-line, regardless of his considerable talent.

Looking to hit the ground running

On a more personal note, Bednarek is upbeat about the prospect of making his Premier League debut tomorrow.

The young Pole is relatively unknown to English fans, but believes he is "confident and ready". With the future of Van Dijk very much in doubt, Bednarek could be set to push for a place in new manager Mauricio Pellegrino's starting XI.

Can Bednarek break up the promising partnership of Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens? Photo: Getty.

However, Bednarek is equally aware that he will have to fight for his spot in the side, admitting that "There’s a few good players in my position". Even without Van Dijk, the 21-year-old will have to perform well to break up the current first-choice centre-back partnership of Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida.