Liverpool have sensationally ended their interest in Virgil van Dijk after apologising to Southampton for their conduct in the pursuit of the player.
Earlier this week it looked almost certain that the Reds would fend off competition from Chelsea and Manchester City for van Dijk, who had reportedly told Jurgen Klopp that Anfield was his preferred destination should, as expected, he leave St Mary’s. It that was left was for the two clubs to agree a fee, which was thought to be heading towards a staggering £60million.
However, it has since emerged that the Saints had reported the Merseyside club to the Premier League and asked them to investigate an alleged illegal approach for the 25-year-old. And in a surprising move on Wednesday evening, Liverpool release a statement apologising to the south coast club for their conduct and, as a result, would end their interest in the defender.
“Liverpool would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs,” read the statement. “We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk. We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.”
What the future holds for van Dijk remains to be seen. He is under contract at Southampton until 2022 and they are certainly in no rush to sell, but this episode would suggest the former Celtic man is keen on a transfer. But with it now known that he would ideally be pulling on the red of Liverpool next season, this may cause Chelsea and City to look elsewhere for reinforcements.