Virgil van Dijk’s potential move to Liverpool from Southampton has faced its first roadblock as the Saints have reported to the Premier League the Reds’ alleged illegal approach for the Dutch defender.
Van Dijk, 25, has set his heart on a move to Liverpool amid interest from Chelsea and Manchester City, but this could become a long drawn-out transfer saga judging by Southampton’s evasive measures. Should Van Dijk complete his move to Anfield, it would be Liverpool’s sixth signing from the Saints in three years.
Van Dijk would follow in the footsteps of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane to jump ship from the south coast of England to Merseyside.
That being said, Southampton have clearly told the Premier League about no official approach from Liverpool for the Dutchman, despite bookmakers suspending betting on the transfer earlier this week.
Furthermore, the Saints are in no need to sell their wanted centre-back and are in a strong position regarding any negotiations. The Dutch international only last year put pen to paper on a new deal at St Mary’s and has five more years to run on his current contract, hence his club hold all aces in case the big clubs show interest.
It is believed that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp personally talked to Van Dijk and turned his head as regards a move to Anfield. The player has reportedly agreed on personal terms with the Reds having told his suitors and Southampton of his favoured destination and only the details of his transfer fee need to be sorted with Southampton.
Van Dijk can become the most expensive defender in history this transfer window if Southampton agree to sell him, but judging by the club’s stance on the player and approach to the Premier League to report Liverpool, it will take a considerable sum of money to force the Saints to let go their most prized asset.
Liverpool intend to make Van Dijk the highest paid player at the club by offering the commanding centre-half around £200,000 a week. Currently, Philippe Coutinho is the Reds’ highest earner. With Southampton in a state of flux considering the imminent departure of Claude Puel, it remains to be seen whether they allow their best defender to leave amid the managerial uncertainty.
Whatever happens, one thing is for certain: Liverpool will have to break their transfer record to land Van Dijk. The Reds’ current transfer record was set last summer when they paid Southampton upwards of £30 million for Mane.