During a press conference, Southampton manager Claude Puel hinted that Virgil Van Dijk might still be a Saints player when the 2017/18 Premier League season starts.
Liverpool has ambitions of signing Virgil Van Dijk and reports last week indicated that the Dutchman had verbally agreed to sign for Liverpool if the Reds finished in the top four.
Today, however, Claude Puel responded to questions during a press conference regarding Van Dijk’s ankle injury which has sidelined him since January and hinted that he could be at the club next season.
The Frenchman said, “For Virgil, it was a bad injury but now it’s okay. His surgery is finished, he can work normally, ready for the next season..with us.
“He is our captain. He is important for us. He is a fantastic player. We will wait until the beginning of the season to see him again on the pitch. He has a long contract and I think the directors want to keep him.“
Saints chairman Ralph Krueger said in February,“We are just out of the January transfer window and are striving to keep this group together and to build on it.
“Virgil is very committed us for a long time and we don’t see anything but that in our future. He is our team captain and we don’t see him anywhere else than in red and white stripes.“
It’s certain that Dejan Lovren is not good enough to partner Jöel Matip if Liverpool has sincere hopes of winning silverware next season and making progress in the Champions League, should the Reds even qualify.
With two games until the end of Liverpool’s Premier League season, West Ham and Middlesbrough stand in their way of finishing in the top four. Failing to qualify for the Champions League would not only be embarrassing but it would also hinder Jürgen Klopp in the transfer market.
Virgil Van Dijk is one of Klopp’s top targets but RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita is also said to be high on his shortlist. The latter would reinvent Liverpool’s midfield and is exactly the kind of player Klopp looks to drive his teams forward from the engine room.