Both Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool fans warming to the idea of spending £50million on one defender demonstrates how vital many feel the addition of Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk would be.
The in-demand Dutchman’s summer departure seems inevitable and the Reds will undoubtedly be pushing to the front of the queue to get a player outlined as Klopp’s number one defensive target.
Having said this, there remains the danger of the club missing out on Champions League qualification and our Premier League rivals subsequently beating us to the signing of the centre-back.
A number of factors have emerged that could prove key to our pursuit of the 25-year-old, including not only the future of Mamadou Sakho but also other potential transfer targets that the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City may have lined up.
“Champions elect Chelsea are long time admirers of van Dijk, but Antonio Conte also has an interest in Leonardo Bonucci of Juventus and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, centre backs who also figure prominently on Pep Guadiola’s shortlist at Manchester City,” said Tony Barrett, a journalist for joe.co.uk.
“Southampton are resigned to the likelihood that this will be van Dijk’s final season at St Mary’s and value the 25-year-old at around £50 million but Claude Puel’s interest in Mamadou Sakho, who is currently on loan at Crystal Palace, could strengthen Liverpool’s hand.”
Sakho’s impressive form since moving to Crystal Palace on loan has moulded into an opportunity that Liverpool could perhaps exploit in terms of using him as part of a deal for Van Dijk.
Southampton appear to be interested in the Frenchman but it remains to be seen whether Klopp will have a change of heart and give Sakho another chance to prove himself at Anfield. We suspect not, which is why Reds should be keen to see him continue to impress at Palace in the hope that it will bolster his value.
Chelsea and Manchester City turning their attention to alternative options would be music to Klopp’s ears given this club’s recent record of being beaten to the signature of main targets.