With less than a week remaining in the transfer window, a number of storylines that had been been fluctuating between a simmer and a low boil are set to heat up again, though how it will all end for Liverpool Football Club isn’t exactly clear.
The club’s transfer dealings have been a bit like Schrödinger's cat, existing in two very different states. In any given minute, all signs suggest that Jürgen Klopp will stand pat and make absolutely no major changes to his squad. The next minute, various rumors emerge that a surprise player is being considered while another player is on his way out.
One of those rumors concerns Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, whose manager seems to believe that another season for the Dutch international at St. Mary’s is on the cards. That outcome seemed increasingly likely, given that here were a number of indications during the week that Van Dijk was resigning himself to staying with Southampton.
The Irish Independent has reported that the Saints defender has jettisoned his current agent in a bid to shake things up. Whether the move makes an acquisition by Liverpool more or less likely remains to be seen. According to the Independent, Van Dijk’s former agent had also represented former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman - a situation that ruffled some feathers due to the bad blood stemming from Koeman’s departure.
Getting rid of his agent could be viewed as an attempt by Van Dijk to mollify his employers and hopefully ease them towards allowing his transfer (which at this point could mean a move to Chelsea as much as a move to Liverpool). Alternatively, it could also be seen as setting up a convenient “my agent told me to do it” narrative as a precursor to buckling down and sticking it out at Southampton for another year. We’ll know the answer in a week.
Elsewhere, the Philippe Coutinho saga continues to creep in its petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time. In retrospect, it’s quite breathtaking how quickly Coutinho has shredded his relationship with Liverpool supporters.
The Mirror has reported that Coutinho, very much like another Kop favorite from a few years ago, is ready to fully re-commit himself to Liverpool’s cause, in what could be a very important season for the Merseyside club. The catch? Coutinho’s advisers want Liverpool to agree to a Barcelona transfer at the end of the season.
This was, in truth, already the most likely outcome for the Brazilian, so it’s not as though an agreement on that point would be controversial from that perspective. The existence of such an agreement would, however, preclude other potential suitors, not to mention hand all of the leverage to Barcelona next summer. From that perspective, most Liverpool supporters would likely suggest that the club should tell Coutinho’s advisers to get stuffed.
UPDATE: “Certain” outlets that will not be named have reported that, contrary to the earlier stories, Van Dijk’s agent has not been terminated and is disputing the reports about the dismissal. Similar indications are coming from other correspondents on social media.