With a whole host of clubs interested in reported Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk, Southampton have been forced to deny that a £25mil buyout clause exists in the new contract the Dutch defender signed during the summer. Along with the Reds, Manchester City and Everton have also been linked with an interest in the Netherlands international, but the Saints have made it clear on more than one occasion that they won’t be considering offers for his services.
“It is not true,” said Southampton manager Claude Puel when asked about the rumoured clause in van Dijk’s six year deal. “After this I make no comment about speculation, just to say that Virgil is an important player for the team,” continued the Frenchman, taking a hard line on the media speculating on the star defender’s future. “For me it’s not a possibility to see him leave.”
Unfortunately for Puel, it may not be his decision to make. A price-tag of £40mil is being thrown around by the media, but if he does move, it’ll more than likley be during the summer when the Saints would have a better shot at bringing in quality reinforcements — though their rumoured interest in Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge could make things interesting. Either way, if he keeps playing the way he is, Southampton will have a hard time keeping van Dijk’s head from being turned with the offer of more money and European Football on the table.
“From what I have seen this season, I’d suggest it would take between £40-50mil to get Virgil van Dijk away from Southampton. I would be surprised if he was let go for anything less than that because he has signed a new long-term deal,” mused Saints legend Matt Le Tissier. “Celtic will have a sell-on clause and rightly so. That’s good business by them. If Van Dijk stayed for a couple of years I’d be absolutely delighted. But I doubt we’ll keep him for that long,” explained the former England man. “I’m hoping we can at least keep him until the end of the season because then it doesn’t disrupt things too much. Hopefully we don’t lose him in January.”