Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger insists Virgil van Dijk will not be sold this summer as he looks to take the club in a new direction.
Liverpool’s lengthy pursuit of the Dutchman is yet to materialise into anything with the Reds reluctant to launch an official bid without being given good reason to believe Southampton are open to offers.
A deal previously looked as though it might be possible, until the club became subject to a complaint against an alleged illegal approach, following Jurgen Klopp’s secret meetings with the player himself.
The response was to issue a statement ending interest in the defender, although there has since been suggestions a deal may still be on the cards.
Krueger, however, has reaffirmed an unchanged adamance that Van Dijk will not be leaving the club between now and the transfer deadline.
“”Virgil is not for sale in this window and it’s not personal,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s not about him, it’s about an overall much, much, much bigger picture – a change of course for Southampton.
“The first summer I was here five players went out and six went in, not counting academy. Second summer three went out, seven came in, and third summer five went out, five came in.”
“Now it is one out and two in, and this is who we want to become.”
“We want to mature, we want to be a team that can profit from synergies that create a much more attractive football and a better product for the fans, and gives us a chance to get back into Europe.”
“That’s one player in this whole equation of 25 and it is the visible one, but for us it’s the principle and it’s the path and it’s the statement we need to make to get to a new space as a club.
“We are very, very adamant about carrying this through.”
This shares similarities with a recent statement from Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group, who reaffirmed their stance that Philippe Coutinho would not be sold for any price, amid Barcelona’s pursuit of the Brazilian.
The need for further defensive reinforcements remains undisputed, regardless of Klopp expressing how happy he is with the options he already has at his disposal.
To miss out on Van Dijk would be a crushing blow, but one Liverpool must have an alternative plan for. A pressure is beginning to mount and this undeniably talented squad still requires a few new additions.