This is definitely a spanner in our bid to bring Virgil Van Dijk to Anfield.
Southampton have reported Liverpool to the Premier League for illegally approaching their Dutch defender, according to BBC Radio Solent.
BBC Radio Solent understands that #saintsfc are to report Liverpool to the Premier League over an illegal approach for Virgil Va Dijk
— Adam Blackmore (@AdamBlackmore) June 6, 2017
Yesterday, news broke that the 25-year-old had agreed to join Liverpool after speaking personally with Jurgen Klopp – instead of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea or Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
We haven’t submitted an official offer to Southampton though, meaning any approach to the player behind his club’s back is technically illegal.
Liverpool have been open about the fact we’ve spoken to targets already, with Jurgen Klopp publicly declaring that early negotiations and phone-calls have gone well…
In this respect, we have no legs to stand on.
Premier League rules state that: ‘A club intending to conclude a contract with a professional must inform his current club in writing before entering into negotiations.’
Liverpool have not had written permission, but does a phone call/chat count as ‘negotiations’…?
What’s more journalist Gareth Williams stated we did contact Southampton in March to alert them of our intention:
Liverpool contacted Southampton in March to ask for permission to talk to Van Dijk. This seems like trying to keep the fans happy.
— Gareth Williams (@Shakacarnage) June 6, 2017
This is where it’s slightly ambiguous, as it’s almost an unwritten acceptance that ‘tapping up’ occurs with every single transfer. The linear trajectory of ‘Make offer, have offer accepted, speak to player’ is for Football Manager and FIFA, not for real life – although officially – these rules stand.
We can understand Southampton’s frustration, as we poach their best players every year.
Annoyingly, the whole furore is said to make the mid-table club all the more determined to hold on to Van Dijk – and they especially don’t want to sell him to Liverpool.
If Liverpool have been naive here and it messes up this deal, or any others this summer, the reaction will be furious.