Late last week, the papers in England were full of stories claiming Virgil van Dijk to Manchester City was a done deal, leading a fair few Liverpool fans to wring their hands at the club appearing to have missed out on the player thanks to a blundering approach to getting a deal done last summer.
At the time, we cautioned that while he might end up at City, a lack of news from the Liverpool end in this instance wasn’t necessarily a bad thing—and that if Van Dijk to Liverpool was still possible, the club wouldn’t want to brief any friendly journalists about it and risk screwing things up a second time.
Now, following the player being left out of the lineup for Southampton when they took on Huddersfield, there is a growing rumble that a Van Dijk deal is indeed nearly done. Only it’s a deal with Liverpool. And unlike when the talk was of City leading for him, it’s coming from the Southampton end.
Liverpool’s connected journalists are staying quiet on the matter, but Kevin Palmer—a journalist who spent the better part of a decade working for Southampton—has today said Van Dijk to Liverpool is largely agreed as the Reds have put forward a transfer fee that Saints would be willing to accept.
This was followed a few hours later by ex-Saints star Matt Le Tissier telling a Liverpool fan he thinks the player will end up at Anfield in January—after he spent most of last summer telling them Southampton were firm in their determination not to sell Van Dijk to Liverpool at any price.
Does it all mean Van Dijk to Liverpool is a done deal? Well, no. City clearly believe they have a shot, otherwise they wouldn’t have briefed journalists about their interest last week. Still, with things all quiet on the Liverpool end but Southampton insiders saying a deal is likely, a bit of optimism might be in order.