- Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino offers update on Virgil van Dijk saga
- Dutchman set to leave St Mary’s in January transfer window
- Liverpool battling with Manchester City to sign the defender
- SEE MORE: Oxlade-Chamberlain shows elite mentality with strong self-criticism
It wouldn’t take looking at a calendar to know the January transfer window is vast approaching.
The daily dose of rumours have resurfaced, as have reports linking Virgil van Dijk to a move to Liverpool.
Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino admits the club will make the right decision for the team when it comes to settling the Dutchman’s future.
Van Dijk has been linked with a St Mary’s exit since the summer having handed in a brutally honest transfer request stressing a need for European football, whilst claiming to have been fined wages after being exiled to train with the youth squad.
Liverpool had looked in pole position to acquire the centre-back, only to become subject to a complaint against an alleged illegal approach following secret meetings between the club and player.
The Reds are now set to battle it out for the defender with Manchester City, with Pellegrino appearing resigned to losing his star man following the turn of the year.
“I decided it’s best for the team as there is a lot of speculation around,” the Saints manager told Sky Sports after dropping Van Dijk for Tuesday’s 5-2 defeat to Tottenham.
“We win, draw and lose, with and without Virgil. In this squad I have a lot of players that can play. We are used to changes. We can’t use this as an excuse. We have to wait until January. I can’t control the market and we’ll see what happens.”
“He is part of our club and he is an important player for us, but we’ll see what happens. I can’t control the whispers and news from outside. It’s difficult for me to control what happens outside.”
“The board decided to try to keep our best player at the club. This situation is a big learning curve for everybody and now we decide what is the best for the club.”
Liverpool’s need for defensive reinforcements can’t be understated, regardless of the team’s attacking power.
To not strengthen defensively in January having failed to do so in the summer threatens as a costly mistake during a season in which the Reds are capable of yet again securing a top four finish.
Familiar frailties at the back are all that stand in the way of Liverpool competing alongside Manchester City and establishing themselves as serious Premier League title contenders.
If it isn’t Van Dijk that arrives, then it has to be someone else. Klopp can’t afford to have one single target this time round.