Liverpool’s chances of signing top centre-back target Virgil Van Dijk have faded after Southampton’s complaint to the Premier League regarding the Reds’ negotiations with the player.
But many still believe that when the dust settles, and if Van Dijk looks to force through a transfer, the deal can still happen.
We asked BBC Radio Solent’s Adam Blackmore whether he believes Van Dijk could still end up at Liverpool and his general thoughts on what has arguably been the transfer saga of the summer so far.
With it being a few weeks now since Liverpool publicly apologised to Southampton and seemingly ended their interest in the player, what’s the mindset like from a Saints perspective?
I think Saints mind-set is to do all they can to keep VVD, they will hope to have shown to everyone that they are not going to roll over and let players leave without it being a good move for them, and with Mauricio Pellegrino arriving today, they will feel they have a good platform for pre-season now.
How did Liverpool get this so wrong? Was it more the fact the player had informed the club of his wish to join or more the fact Merseyside based journalists were briefed in the way they were?
It wasn’t just Merseyside journalists that were briefed, there were a number of nationals as well. But whilst that was a less than subtle display of chest-thumping, I think the biggest issue was the wording that implied VVD had chosen Liverpool. And all this before an approach had been made to talk to the player.
It was unnecessary and they may well have done the deal had they kept everything in-house and knuckled down to negotiate the deal with Saints.
The news has come out the Premier League will not be taking any further action against Liverpool following the complaint by Southampton, but that the Saints have not yet dropped the complaint, what’s the feeling from everyone at St Mary’s?
As I said above, I think Saints will be glad the whole episode gave them the chance to show everyone they won’t roll over and be bullied.
Do you think there is any chance Liverpool could still sign Virgil van Dijk this summer and if so, what will need to happen?
I don’t not think Saints have a desire to sell any more players to Liverpool – it grates with their supporters after recent signings. I think they want to keep VVD for another year. But it is football – if the player engineers a move it will be a difficult situation for the club to deal with.
From Van Dijk’s perspective, we’ve seen a couple of cryptic messages on social media…what’s his mindset right now?
I do not know, but the cryptic messages do not help. I have praised VVD for being a pro on and off the pitch in the past. But I think the cryptic messages are immature, and make him look like a spoilt footballer, and I’ve never perceived him like that.
I think he should respect the club that has put him in this shop window. When he signed from Celtic, some up in Scotland thought he was dodgy and Saints had overpaid. Like with Wanyama. He would do well to remember that.
I presume there has been no communication between Southampton and Van Dijk over his future considering he signed that new long-term contract last year?
The players start pre-season this week. Only now will we get an idea maybe, and in the coming weeks.
Do Southampton still hold an interest in Mamadou Sakho?
If they keep VVD and Yoshida is asked to sign a new deal (he has one year left now), then with the arrival of Jan Bednarek, and Jack Stephens signing a new deal last weekend, maybe not. But Pellegrino will surely have an input now, which may change the landscape.
Do you think Manchester City or Chelsea might up their interest in Van Dijk despite everything that’s happened?
They both have the clout to make it happen. And I would look at Chelsea as needing him more despite being champions.
In your honest opinion, where do you see Virgil Van Dijk on September 1st?
I see him at Southampton UNLESS he hands in a transfer request.