With a fee that could potentially rise to a completely unheard of £60mil, Liverpool look set to win the race for the signature of highly coveted Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk with a rash of reports in well respected media outlets saying that the Reds have convinced the Dutchman to choose Anfield over the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Although absolutely nothing is done yet, all signs point to the 25-year old not only becoming Liverpool’s new record signing, but one of their highest paid players. Going in with both feet, Reds owners Fenway Sports Group have given boss Jurgen Klopp the backing to compete with City’s wage offer of £200,000-a-week — a figure that matches, if not eclipses, Philippe Coutinho’s enormous wage packet. While it appears that the deal is moving along swimmingly, the Saints still need to get paid and for the time being they have no intention of parting ways with van Dijk or anyone else they don’t feel like selling.
“We will decide if anybody goes and we will decide who comes in, in the best interests of the club. We do not need to sell any player for the first time since I’ve been here. I can make that statement and – unless football decides it’s in the best interests – we don’t need to do that,” said Saints chairman Ralph Krueger. drawing a line in the sand last month. “I think that we’re moving into a new era at Southampton Football Club after three-and-a-half years of building this foundation of depth, where we have more than 25 players that can play a Premier League game,” added the Southampton man before confirming that they’re in the position to turn down a big money bid for the Dutchman. “Can we? Yes. The big thing is here again I want to underline the strategy, less the detail.”
Klopp said he wanted to get his transfer business done early and it looks like the German is getting his way — talks are ongoing between the Reds and AS Roma over pacey winger Mohamed Salah and if all goes to plan they’ll be ringing up Southampton to have what’s becoming a pretty regular conversation. While it’s still a bit too early to start talking defensive partners or what number he’ll be wearing, it’s never too soon to be pragmatic. There’s a well traveled path between the South Coast and the North West, but there’s lots of time for van Dijk to get hijacked along the way.
More on this as it develops…