By David Woods

7th Aug, 2017 | 5:42pm

'Liverpool pyjamas and slippers' – Reds fans react hilariously as 26-year-old hands in shock transfer request

By Harry Sykes

One of the summer’s biggest and longest transfer sagas looks like it’s heading towards its end game as Virgil van Dijk has handed in a shock transfer request.

In a statement issued by his management company and quoted on Sky Sports Transfer Centre (5.09pm), van Dijk said, “It is with regret that I can confirm that I have today handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton Football Club.

“Unfortunately I feel I have no alternative after I was given notice of the Club’s intention to impose a disciplinary sanction against me of a fine equivalent to 2 weeks wages.

“Over the past six months I have held numerous discussions with representatives of the board, the former manager Claude Puel as well as the new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to inform them all of my desire to leave the club in search of a new challenge.

“I am incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfil my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer.  I want to play European football again and challenge for major honours and as such I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist.”

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The transfer request was handed in on Monday and it means that van Dijk has probably payed his last game for Southampton.

Liverpool had shown serious interest in van Dijk until they were threatened with a tapping-up charge by Southampton.

The club had to make a humiliating public apology, although they are still very short favourites with the bookmakers to seal the transfer.

Chelsea have also thrown their hat in the ring though and in a report in the Evening Standard it was reported that Conte has made the 26-year-old centre-back his top summer target.

However, Liverpool will be hoping that van Dijk will end up at Anfield after all this summer and have posted some very funny tweets to try to hurry the deal up.

Here is a selection of their reactions on Twitter:

Van Dijk joined Southampton from Celtic in a deal worth over £14million two years ago and has quickly become one of the Premier League’s most sought-after defenders.

The 26-year-old has 12 caps for the Netherlands and has stated that he now has ambitions to play European football for one of the world’s elite clubs.

Both Chelsea and Liverpool can offer Champions League football and it now looks highly likely that van Dijk will join one of these two clubs before the summer transfer window slams shut.

In other Liverpool news, Steven Gerrard has said the club will finish above Manchester United if they do these two things.

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