As Chuck noted earlier today, there remains a glimmer of hope in the Virgil van Dijk Transfer Saga. It’s small, it’s fledgling, it has nary a chance to survive in this dark and cruel world, but there is still a chance that VVD could be wearing a Liver Bird on his shirt in 2017-18.
Take this bit of news with some grains of salt, but there may have been some more coal shoveled into the furnace on the VVD Hype Train.
Southampton have signed a new central defender. His name is Jan Bednarek. He’s a 21-year-old Poland youth international. He’s arriving on the South Coast from Lech Poznan, who were compensated to the tune of £5 million.
Bednarek is pleased as punch to come to England.
“I am so happy that I could join a club like Southampton. This is the moment I have worked for that makes my dreams come true. I think it's a good step for me, because I have heard Southampton is such a good club for young players, so I can improve here.”
So this is all well and good, but there’s a question all of us Liverpool fans are asking. Is Bednarek a replacement for Virgil van Dijk?
Let me answer that question with a question: Who’s ready for the Van Dijk Lean?!!
In all seriousness, if Southampton did indeed bring on Bednarek on to fill an anticipated VVD-sized hole in their squad, they’re not admitting to it in mixed company. And for what it’s worth, Southampton’s vice-chairman of football Les Reed has indicated that Bednarek is likely to provide depth, at least in the short term.
“Jan is an extremely promising young player who possesses significant potential. This is a particularly exciting time for him to arrive here, as he also has the opportunity to learn from Mauricio Pellegrino’s extensive experience of playing the centre-back position. Jan provides additional depth to the impressive amount we have in that area, with Virgil van Dijk, Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens having all performed so impressively there last season, and he provides us with another excellent central defensive option.”
So this probably— probably— isn’t the turning point in the VVD Saga we’re hoping for. As it stands, Southampton continue to hold all the cards here. All eyes are on Van Dijk himself and how he comports himself when he reports for preseason training next week. If he’s clearly unhappy, if he starts dropping some awkward comments for reporters, that will have a much clearer indication of how this will shake out. The Bednarek signing isn’t nothing, but for the most part we’re all still in a holding pattern.
But that’s not going to stop us from keeping this hype train going.