Liverpool’s interest in highly coveted Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk was always going to follow a bit of a bumpy road, but after the Saints threatened to report the Reds to the Premier League over their “illegal” pursuit of the Dutchman, in a surprising about-face the Anfield outfit has issued a full apology and dropped their interest in bringing him to Merseyside.
The two club have endured a rather fractious relationship over the past couple of years with the likes of Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane all making the trip from the South Coast to the North West — much to the chagrin of Southampton. Despite putting pen to paper on a new six year deal, speculation swirled throughout the season that the 25-year old would move on from St. Mary’s in the summer in pursuit of Champions League football with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and of course Liverpool jostling for his signature. Although the Reds appeared to have all but signed him up after matching City’s massive wage offer, they’re now pulling the plug on the deal.
“Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs,” reads a statement on their official website. “We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk,” going on to add, “We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.”
This, of course, comes as a massive blow to the Anfield outfit after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp identified the Dutchman as his number one transfer target. The Saints, for their part, have been steadfast in their resolve to hang on to the former Celtic man, stressing on multiple occasions that not only will they not entertain any offers for his services, but that even a massive bid would be turned away with their finances in order.
More on this when more information leaks out…