Joseph Kavaloski examines the Virgil van Dijk saga with Southampton’s actions against Liverpool and Chelsea making it difficult for the player to move this summer.
The Virgil van Dijk saga has been a complete disaster for Liverpool. It started off promisingly with the Reds appearing to be in pole position for the star defender’s signature but ended in calamity with the club having to end their pursuit due to allegations of “tapping up” the Dutchman.
Shortly after the Reds’ interest ended, another club rumoured to be circling van Dijk, Chelsea, was similarly rumoured to be guilty of these tapping up claims.
Speaking to players before they officially transfer is common practice in world football today, yet Southampton appears to be intent on changing this habit of many players and clubs.
The Reds handled this situation very poorly, but there is a larger reason behind Southampton starting this fiasco.
The Saints have lost numerous players to Liverpool over the past few seasons, making it impossible for the club to compete for European places in the Premier League. This has no doubt frustrated club officials and fans alike on the south coast.
Since Liverpool and Chelsea’s names were included as potential victims of a Premier League investigation, the rumours around van Dijk have come to a complete halt. The Saints are known to want at least £60 million for their best player but obviously would rather keep him at the club for the long term.
Liverpool did handle this situation poorly, but it appears as though the Saints are simply trying anything to keep clubs away from van Dijk.
Every club speaks to players before possible transfers. Southampton is aware of this as any club is and moves away from the south coast by many former players such as Adam Lallana and Sadio Mané testify to this.
The difference from then to now is that the club is now doing anything they can to stop the exodus of successful players away from the south coast.
If Southampton had not threatened the Reds with a Premier League investigation, there is a strong chance a deal would have already been agreed.
Similar could be said of van Dijk going to Chelsea after his Liverpool move fell through. It is clear that the Dutch International wants to leave Southampton, and now the club is willing to go to any length to block his move away.
With the calendar not yet having flipped to July, there is still time for Liverpool or another team to swoop in for van Dijk.
The Reds have publicly stated that they are ending all interest in the player, but Southampton would be hard pressed to deny interest if a £60-70 million bid were lodged.
Simply put, Southampton’s “tapping up” accusations are merely a ploy to prevent their player from leaving the club.
Van Dijk wants out but Southampton do not want to sell (at least at a cost any lower than a ridiculous amount) so they are going to essentially attempt to change how transfer business is conducted in modern football just to keep a player who clearly wants to leave.