Putting aside talk of a certain Brazilian for a moment or two, there’s still a whole lot going on in the transfer market right now with top Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk left out of the Southampton squad that will face Swansea City in the club’s opening match of the Premier League season — something the South Coast side has chalked up to a bit of an illness rather than his transfer request.
“The problem here is that Virgil is one of the most important players. But there isn’t one player more important than the 11 players playing together,” explained Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino. “The player is clear with his position but we have to keep going because I can’t control the thinking of the player at this moment,” added the Argentinian manager. “He won’t be available this weekend as he had some trouble with a virus and hasn’t trained the last two days.”
That situation sounds eerily similar to the back problem that’s keeping Reds attacker Philippe Coutinho, who has also handed in a written transfer request, out of their season opener away to Watford. On the flip side of things, Mamadou Sakho — a player who actually wants to be playing — was left out of Liverpool’s Champions League squad that’ll square off with Hoffenheim in the play-off round with the Frenchman almost certain to leave Anfield this summer. Given the way the market is going, the price-tag of £30mil that’s been attached to him looks like a serious bargain, but potential suitors have been few and far between.
“I don’t know,” said Crystal Palace boss Frank de Boer when asked if the Eagles would make a move for the Reds misfit defender. “He was a major impact last season, everybody knows what he did. He was not only good on the pitch but also in the dressing room,” continued the Dutch boss, knowing full well that Sakho was a popular figure around Selhurst Park during his short spell in Croydon. “If you can get that kind of quality of player it always benefits your team.”
So, the question is, do you, like, want him or not?