Liverpool have been heavily linked to Virgil van Dijk this season. So have Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, and the Manchester clubs. According to David Prutton, who played five seasons with Southampton and now is a pundit for Sky Sports, though, Liverpool could have an advantage.
“If you’re one of Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool you’d be foolish not to look at him," Prutton said. “The next test for him as a footballer is jumping up. It’ll take a lot of money to get him, but spending for these teams is not uncommon.
“Liverpool obviously have a good dialogue and a business relationship with Southampton, although I wouldn’t say that puts them at the front. But you’d think from a business point of view, it probably gives them a head start when it comes to building a rapport and business relationship.”
A head start but not at the front of the queue may be trying to have it both ways, but it’s certainly true Liverpool have a history of completing transfer deals with Southampton after signing Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, and Rickie Lambert from them in recent years.
And, based on multiple reports from reliable sources, it’s clear that they have been interested in van Dijk in recent months, though whether in the end they move for him in the summer isn’t certain. There’s a big question, too, about cost, with Prutton thinking van Dijk could cost £50M.
“The thing with [John] Stones is it was always about potential,” Prutton added. “With Van Dijk you need to be looking at the same ball-park figure because of the ability he’s got. Southampton are in a position where they can hold out for something pretty spectacular.”