Virgil van Dijk has handed in a transfer request at Southampton but it’s not time for Liverpool fans to celebrate just yet. 

It’s finally happened, ladies and gentlemen! Virgil van Dijk has handed in a transfer request as he looks to leave Southampton and push through a move to Liverpool.

However, it’s not time to crack the bottles of champagne open just yet.

The Dutchman reportedly told Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino that he is “not available to play because he wants to leave” and has forced him to train by himself away from the first-team squad.

However, the former Liverpool defender is hoping to keep the Dutchman at the club, hoping that the player “can review his feelings” and change his mind.

Like Liverpool when it comes to Philippe Coutinho, Southampton are evidently desperate to rid themselves of the ‘selling club’ tag this summer.

In the last three seasons they’ve lost Sadio Mané, Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren, all of which have become staples in the Reds starting XI under Jürgen Klopp and it’s understandable that the south coast club would be reticent to allow the Dutchman to join the conveyor belt as well.

However, every player has their price and Liverpool have to simply bide their time and find Southampton’s threshold.

It has been widely regarded for much of the summer that despite the stance of the Saints being an adamant “no” when asked if they’ll let him go, a bid of between £60-70m – a record fee for a defender – would be enough to see them part ways.

However, it’s not that simple for Liverpool and further patience will be required before a bid can even be officially lodged.

The ‘tapping up’ scandal from June hasn’t just disappeared out of existence like it has in many people’s memories and the Reds absolutely must walk on eggshells around the van Dijk issue.

If the Reds are seen to be making the same type of approach once again, it could have utterly disastrous results for the club, ranging far beyond an embarrassingly public apology.

Transfer bans, fines and a truly damaged reputation are all at stake and the Reds simply cannot risk any of those.

Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol has already voiced his opinion on the “sensitive subject,” claiming on his Twitter account that while the Reds “ended their interest & he’s not for sale” that it would come as “no surprise if they sign him before August 31.”

It is, however, generally felt that until another club lodge a bid, the Reds will remain hesitant to attempt opening negotiations with Southampton unless they are given absolute confirmation that the club are happy to let the player go for the right sum of money.

Alongside this, Pellegrino’s comments – despite reiteration that Southampton will not be selling – do provide some further positivity for Reds fans.

“I believe none of us are more important than the team, and this is crucial,” Southampton’s manager added. “The team needs important players, but important players need the team more than the other.”

The Argentinian clearly understands that he simply cannot afford to have an unhappy player causing problems in the dressing room or on the field if he is to have a successful season. Especially not one as high-profile or in-demand as van Dijk.

This recent news is hugely encouraging for the club and means that in the right circumstances, a bid could be far more likely to be accepted.

However, it looks as if we’ll have to remain patient for a little longer to see just how long van Dijk can draw this out for and the final effect it will have.