Liverpool fans were rejoicing in the street after hearing Virgil van Dijk had submitted a transfer request on Monday, but the reality is that we still face an uphill struggle to sign the Dutchman.
He may be Jurgen Klopp’s primary target, but Southampton are desperate to either keep hold of him – Gary Jacobs in the Times suggests he could spend the season in the reserves – or at least sell him to one of our rivals, following our apology for an illegal approach in June.
It doesn’t take long when browsing Southampton message boards to see that while the fanbase has accepted van Dijk perhaps has to leave, they furiously want his next destination to NOT be Anfield.
James Pearce told an Echo podcast something similar:
“On VVD, it’s not a complete cause for celebration. I think there’s a lot of hoops to jump through. I can’t see VVD staying there beyond this window, especially the way he’s criticised the club. The transfer request may suit Southampton as they may have felt that they couldn’t justify the sale to their fans previously. There’s no doubt Southampton would prefer to sell VVD to anyone else but for LFC. If VVD sits tight and insists on saying that he only wants to go to LFC.. But if it drags on and on, then my concerns is Chelsea. A lot of the ill-feeling remains from June when LFC didn’t bother to pick up the phone to start negotiations with Saints. I’d be amazed if VVD went for less than 60m. LFC’s need for VVD is greater than Chelsea’s need for him. Will LFC pay a premium for him? I don’t know, but they may have to. Klopp was never going to come out and say that he was worried about the CB situation before the start of the season. Klopp knows how desperately LFC need a new CB. The fact that LFC have not gone for anyone else shows he thinks it could happen. I still would not put money on VVD joining LFC because there may be a compromise with him and Saints where he won’t go to us.”
It all depends now on how brave and patient van Dijk can be to seal his dream Liverpool switch.
Our worry is that if Chelsea come in with big money now, he might decide it’s his second best option – as just like Pearce suggests – Southampton will probably only consider selling to us when it’s their last possible option, which means the player rejecting other advances.
Can van Dijk, with the prospect of spending a year frozen out at St. Mary’s, realistically turn down the advances of Champions League clubs with the hope Southampton will eventually give in and let him sign for Klopp?
It’s a big ask…