If reports are to be believed, Virgil Van Dijk is closer to a move to Chelsea in what could be a mammoth £60 million deal.
With just four days to go until Liverpool final game of the season, upon which Champions League football hinges, I think it’s safe to say that there is a lot hanging in the balance for the Merseyside club.
I think it’s also safe to say, just judging on what has already been reported, Virgil Van Dijk will be Liverpool’s summer transfer saga. I’m hoping it turns out a whole lot better than it did with Mario Götze, however.
Saying that, reports in the media don’t bode well for Jürgen Klopp’s chances of signing Southampton’s highly-rated Dutch defender. According to The Independent, Antonio Conte’s title-winning Chelsea are confident they’ve won the race to sign Van Dijk.
The Independent’s Miguel Delaney writes, “Van Dijk has become the main target at centre-half and, although Chelsea will face strong competition from Manchester City and Liverpool, there is a growing belief that the 25-year-old Dutch international favours a move to Stamford Bridge.“
In their experience with Southampton, Liverpool have been on the receiving end of the Saint’s hardball bargaining and Chelsea are set to receive the same treatment this summer, according to reports.
Saints chairman Ralph Krueger has warned suitors that Van Dijk won’t be leaving on the cheap and when asked if the Saints could turn down a £60 million offer he replied, “Can we? Yes.”
Krueger says, that with Southampton’s players all under long-term contracts, the club doesn’t need to cave under pressure from bigger clubs.
“Here we sit in the summer of ’17 and we now have 18 top, or above average, Premier League players under three or more year contracts,“ he added.
“So 18 players have more than three years, gives us control over the summer for the first time.
“We will decide if anybody goes and we will decide who comes in, in the best interests of the club.
“We do not need to sell any player for the first time since I’ve been here.”
Whether it’s Liverpool or Chelsea, the club that signs Van Dijk will need to pay over the odds to sign him. There’s no denying that he is a centre-back with a lot of talent and potential but £60 million is just £5m less than what Luis Suarez joined Barcelona for.
And yet, you feel Liverpool need to pay whatever it takes to sign their primary targets. Too often in the past bargain buys have been brought in as opposed to signing the more expensive and talented options in order to save money.
Should Liverpool break the bank this summer in the interests of moving forward or is there the risk of becoming “plastic” in the way supporters have criticised Chelsea and the Manchester clubs in recent years?
I think it’s time.