Chelsea’s Italian boss Antonio Conte has admitted that Liverpool beat his side to the signing of Virgil van Dijk.
Jurgen Klopp managed to convince the Dutchman of his project and the former Southampton central defender chose Anfield over Stamford Bridge, despite Chelsea winning the Premier League last term.
On January 1st, he became the most expensive defender in the history of the game, setting us back a whopping £75m – which doesn’t seem quite so outrageous since Coutinho left to join Barcelona for nearly double that.
“This is football. This is life,” Conte told the Standard..
“For sure he was our target but as you know this is football. We can have a lot of targets but you must be able to reach those targets. The transfer market is not simple for any club.
“Liverpool bought Van Dijk to reinforce their defensive line, and I think Van Dijk is a top defender. They spent 85  million euros for this player.
“The same time, they sold very well [Philippe] Coutinho because when you sell a player for this amount of money, and then you have the rest of money to invest, to improve your team.
“But I think the transfer market is not simple especially if there is this amount of money.
“I have great respect for the other teams, for the other managers, because behind every operation there is a programme, [there] is a plan and I have great respect for every manager, every team.”
There’s a large part of us which hopes and believes van Dijk would have been signed for the large lump sum regardless of Coutinho’s exit.
The more cynical fan will believe by selling the Brazilian, FSG are balancing the books, but it’s unlikely to be the case considering how they essentially work to Klopp’s instructions in the transfer market since the German arrived.
We really hope some more money is invested into the team this January though, but if the van Dijk saga taught us anything, it’s that Klopp would prefer to wait than to spend on the wrong player.