We’re hurtling towards the month of January and the tension of transfer season that comes with it. Naturally, that means the rumblings around Virgil van Dijk — of last summer’s we-almost-had-something-beautiful van Dijks — are beginning to reach fever pitch once again.
This week’s most significant developments aren’t so much promising for Liverpool as they are evidence of an increasingly sour relationship between the defender and Southampton. Van Dijk was dropped from the Saints’ squad that lost 1-0 against Chelsea on Saturday, and Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino hinted that it may have something to do with his wavering commitment to the club.
“We have to choose the players who want to help the club 100 per cent," Pellegrino said before the game.
The transfer window, and any comments about players leaving for Liverpool, is understandably a bit of a sore spot for Pellegrino, and he was unwilling to say anything beyond what we already know: that van Dijk’s future at Southampton is anything but certain.
“I can’t say nothing about that because you never know what can happen in the future,” Pellegrino added. “Yes I would like to keep my important players in the squad.”
"I have my opinion, I have to give to the technical director and the chairman my opinion, but the club will decide what's best.
"I can't control the market, and I am not the owner of the players, I will recommend to keep our best player here, in the club."
With Southampton valuing van Dijk at £70m, it remains to be seen if Liverpool will be able to beat off Chelsea and Manchester City’s better-coffered overtures in January and convince the Saints to send van Dijk to Anfield.