Club standing firm against Liverpool in move for 26-year-old - report
By Harvey Byrne
Premier League rivals Southampton are standing firm against Liverpool in their move for star Virgil van Dijk and would rather let him sit in the stands than allow a transfer to Anfield, according to a report.
The Express have claimed on their website that the 26-year-old is trying to force a move to Merseyside as he sees a move to Liverpool as his dream and earlier in the week he handed in a transfer request at the south coast club.
However, it also comes after Liverpool issued a public apology to Southampton after allegations that they had tapped up the Holland international.
It is said that the Saints are “still fuming” over the saga and they are even willing to miss out on a £60million sale of Van Dijk if it means not selling him to Liverpool.
The Express report also quotes a club insider as saying that the Hampshire-based side would rather let him sit in the stands and that Southampton will be backed by their fans: “We do not want to sell Virgil to Liverpool and will happily let him sit in the stands all season if we have to.
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“Most of the fans would back the club in this after everything that has gone on.”
Football Insider verdict:
This will come as a blow to both Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp as both Van Dijk and Naby Keita were clear top targets for the Merseyside giants and it now looks as though the club will end the window without both. However, Southampton are well within their rights to refuse to sell the centre-back to Liverpool given the situation between the two clubs in recent months and in the past which has seen the Anfield giants poach a number of stars from their ranks. Klopp must surely have a centre-back alternative in his mind given it’s the weakest point in the Liverpool squad and he simply has to act fast now with the new season looming.
In other Liverpool transfer news, the Reds are set to reject this Euro club’s bid for attacker.