Jack Hallows argues that despite their monumental mistake, the Reds may now have no option but to sign Virgil van Dijk this summer. 

The Virgil van Dijk saga was undoubtedly the biggest screwup Liverpool Football Club have managed since Fenway Sports Group took over back in 2010. To make such a host of schoolboy errors – especially leaking such key details to the press – is inexcusable and it may just prove incredibly costly.

Southampton’s acceptance of Liverpool’s apology is seemingly set to be enough to avoid the Premier League taking any further action against the Reds but the outcome could still be costly for the club.

While it’s generally felt that Liverpool’s decision to publicly end their interest in van Dijk is genuine and final in nature, the club may just be forced to change their stance. Once it is confirmed that no further action will be taken, it would highly surprise me not to see an official bid finally submitted for van Dijk despite his price tag having risen to the dizzying heights of £75m.

Why? Simply because Liverpool know that whatever the final outcome ends up being, they have messed up. Badly.

The first scenario is that the Reds keep to their word, opting not to go back in and try to sign the Dutchman. The issue here is that FSG then have a £60 million pound cheque burning a hole through their back pocket and an impatient fanbase ready to pounce through a flurry of ill-tempered tweets and strongly worded emails whenever they deem it necessary.

The owners can’t afford to sit on that much money – especially when they’ve practically promised to spend this summer – and will be forced into paying an extortionate sum of money for a defender from elsewhere. Therein lies the next problem. Who do they buy?

Burnley’s Michael Keane has been touted as a potential target but for all his qualities, he’s not a £60m player. Neither is Middlesbrough centre back Ben Gibson. Kalidou Koulibaly commands a £50m price tag but Napoli are known to drive a hard bargain and there’s no guarantee that he’d acclimatise to the Premier League as quickly as a player who’s already had previous experience.

No matter who the club would choose to buy, the fanbase will know they simply aren’t the manager’s first-choice defensive target. I can imagine the response would be almost universal: “He might be good but he’s no van Dijk is he?”

The second option is potentially just as damaging but from a different perspective.

The Reds will have to grovel back to Southampton with their tails between their legs and a blank cheque in their hands and say “we really are sorry but we’re going to need your centre back.” Now, while Southampton would eventually decide to sell van Dijk, it would likely be a fairly painful process with the Saints sure to try and make it as frustrating as possible for Liverpool to get the deal done quickly.

With Jürgen Klopp desperate to get his summer business over and done with before the tour of Asia kicks off mid-July, this is hardly something the club can afford.

Speaking of things that aren’t easily affordable, once negotiations opened, Southampton would be in pole position to ask for whatever sum of money they desired. With Chelsea and Manchester City seemingly no longer interested – Chelsea are also being investigated by the Premier league for their own ‘tapping up’ mishap – there would be no room for compromise or bidding wars.

“Pay us our £75m or hit the road.”

While paying this frankly ludicrous sum to acquire the services of the Dutchman so swiftly after publicly withdrawing any interest would surely damage the club’s integrity – and ego – it would at least appease the most important power the club possess: the fans.

A happy, united fanbase is not to be underestimated and splashing that amount of cash to bring in a player as sought after as van Dijk would be a massive statement of intent from the owners. I recently did a piece on why the Reds would do well to just steer clear of returning for the defender but now, it seems as if they may have no choice.

Signing Virgil van Dijk will be a long, costly, drawn-out process but get it over the line and it may just be the statement of intent that FSG need to save their summer but more importantly, to win back the fanbase.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Ridiculous article. FSG had no intention of signing VVD, this delusion that they have a 60 mill cheque burning a hole in their pocket is nonsense, their was never that money to spend, it was all just their usual bluff and competing in the media before finding an out, whoever we sign will be a 20/25 mill CB and he was the CB they wanted all along.. FSG don’t care what the fans think. their CB targets were likely Gibson, Keane but they throw in a 60 mill player to excite fans with no intention of getting him, same in the middle and up top.. Savic, Zielinski linked at 25 mill. those are the targets then they throw in Keita at 50 with no intention of signing him. Werner at 30 mill then they throw in Lacazzete and Mbappe to excite fans with zero intention of signing them. its the same every year and they are nearly a decade in, fans just refuse to see it however and that is why it will never change and FSG will be here destroying our club for years to come. another decade of almost total failure awaits while fans sing the LIE “thanks for saving the club 20 years ago” sickening.. FSG OUT

    • If Liverpool never had any intention to sign Van Dijk then why did we approach him in order to try and bring him to the club? Why go to the effort of having to sneak around behind Southampton’s back in order to try and ensure that we got to the player ahead of Manchester City and Chelsea and risk being embarrassed in public once the club found out?

      Also, the target list is drawn up by Liverpool’s scouting team and Michael Edwards in accordance with who Klopp wants in his squad. FSG have nothing to do with it. They’re simply there to sanction the payments and send someone to negotiate the terms of a contract.

      • You are making the assumption that Southampton want to or will sell. They ghave consistently said they are under no pressure to sell. Van Dijk cannot force the sale either by handing in a transfer request because that would leave him exposed as there are only a handful of clubs that can afford him or need him.

        Liverpool are better off going for someone like De Vrij for half the price and use the rest of the funds to get a left back (remember this is a pressing need as well) and a striker (assuming the Salah deal is almost there).

      • FSG would never make VVD the most expensive Defender in history. They were interested in signing him for a fee less than the 50 million PSG paid for David Luiz. VVD is klopp’s number one target, and FSG simply don’t want to pay up to 75 million that Southampton is asking. I agree 100% with Jack hallows, FSG may have no choice but, to sign him, because, instead of Klopp getting the blame for first defensive mistake we make, FSG
        will be blamed and threatened by the immense wrath of our infuriated fans. There is a no win situation for FSG, either take the blame (#fsgout), or they pay for their mistakes and give Southampton a blank cheque. FSG are to blame for not closing deals, Mike gordon ultimately decides a players valuation, as he will put the final word to JWH to pay or not. Edwards, Scout committee, and Klopp formulates primary, secondary and tertiary targets. Edwards does a presentation to mike gordon, Gordon advises JWH and gets payment(s)/offer signed. The list is their, failure to get klopps primary targets, as in the VVD case, should be blamed on FSG, because they cannot close the deal over valuation.

  2. Im sure we had intention of signing him. Its tin foil hat time to suggest otherwise. But the levels of nonsense in this article are quite laughable. “a 60 million pound cheque burning a hole in their pocket”? These are billionaire businessmen, not scabby lottery winners or children. If a deal doesn’t make business sense they wont do it. And you have absolutely NO IDEA AT ALL whether or not FSG are involved in transfers in the way you suggest, or any other way. You have no idea at all. None of us do. So thats purely you opinion, and not even an educated one. Its a completely blind one made to suit the purpose of the article. You say we might have to sign a central defender for 75 million pounds…MIGHT HAVE TO? hahaha. My lord. I suppose there is a chance that we go back in for him, lord I hope we do. But “might have to sign” someone that would essentially cost twice our record transfer outlay? Have you not been watching how these owners do things?

    Im sure they will spend plenty of money this summer, and I am not one of the people who think they are destroying this club. But you wrote this article with absolutely no substance in it at all purely for newsnow clicks, and im ashamed to have given you one.

  3. “FSG have nothing to do with it. They’re simply there to sanction the payments and send someone to negotiate the terms of a contract.”

    Ha! That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever read about FSG. The one thing you can be sure of is that they (John Henry and FSG) are fully aware of and behind ALL potential transfers from start to finish.

    Jack Hallows is living in cloud cuckoo land.

    The original poster, Tom is far closer to the truth.

  4. LFC are the most amateur shit club in the transfer market the game has ever witnessed. We’re a fucking joke of a club. Any club that thought £5m was too much for Deli Ali and £35m for Andy Carol was good business should steer clear of football. FSG are ruining this once great club because they haven’t got a fucking clue about football.

    • The owners are cheapskates who are more interested in balancing the books than making Liverpool great again. Liverpool’s transfer policy has been a joke for at least 4 years. Constantly missing transfer targets due to unwillingness to pay the required fee. As a result we ended up with Balotelli as a last minute panic buy replacement for Suarez, Milner at left back all season, & Lucas as center half for some games. In addition we had a subs bench that looked like a school day outing. I think that says it all about FSG (Frugal, Stingy, Greedy)

  5. There is no room to tape over the cracks this coming season for LFC. VVD is possibly the missing cog in our defence not only to defend but to lead the Liverpool back line. We have a great front three but lacking in depth off the bench. Liverpool were not helped by the timing of the Africa Cup of Nations last season coupled with the star man being injured around the same time. The main CB is required now with depth elsewhere. I do hope FSG realise that LFC under Klopp are in a position to complete the picture with their backing. It does not bear thinking about if Liverpool do not see this through now as going back the way is no longer an option.

  6. Mr Hallows, I really can’t follow your logic here at all. We presume that LFC wants VVD, we presume that VVD wants to go to LFC. We have no absolutely no idea what LFC are willing to pay, or how much SH will demand. We’re all just spoofing…
    Transfer are announced when the deals are done. We’ll know if it’s real and done when it shows up on the LFC website.

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