It looks as though Jurgen Klopp will have to start looking elsewhere for his big money defensive summer signing during the upcoming transfer window.
The last few months have seen Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk emerge as Liverpool’s number one target, with the club reportedly prepared to pay £50million for the centre-back. Manager Claude Puel seems to have derailed any attempt to lure the Dutchman, currently out injured, to Anfield by suggesting he will remain at St Mary’s next season.
“It was a bad injury. But now it’s okay. The surgery is finished, he can work normally, he can start the gym work and rehab to come back for next season… and with us,” Puel said in his press conference, as reported by Sky Sports.
“He is our captain. He is important for us. He is fantastic player. We wait until beginning of season to see him again on the pitch. He has a long contract and I think the Directors want to keep him.”
This would come as a significant blow to Klopp’s transfer plans with the German eyeing up Van Dijk as an ideal man to slot straight into Liverpool’s starting lineup and rectify the defensive frailties that have hampered the club’s season at times.
Though initial signs don’t look too promising as far as Liverpool’s pursuit of the defender is concerned, a lot can change and it remains to be seen whether Van Dijk himself will look for move away.
He has been subject to interest from not only Liverpool but a number of top Premier League clubs and will undoubtedly find it difficult to ignore such admiration for what he offers. Besides, why would the Southampton boss suggest anything other than the idea his in-demand player is staying? While it is worth Klopp considering other options, Van Dijk should not be ruled out just yet.