When the players are away the purveyors of tenuous ties to limited information will play. News out of the London Evening Standard has Liverpool rivaling Chelsea for the hand of Southampton’s rock at the back, Virgil van Dijk. Van Dijk’s star has risen steadily in the Premier League since arriving on the south coast from Celtic in 2015. And Southampton, knowing they have themselves a gem in the Dutch international, won’t be rolling over for the big clubs that come calling. The Saints are said to be asking for a number in the £50million range.
That’s David Luiz crazy money. I wouldn’t expect that to be the final purse that Southampton take home but if the interest is real and the likes of Chelsea are truly involved, is there any way to negotiate that fee?
Something that Liverpool may have over Chelsea is a fairly immediate position on the pitch for van Dijk. Liverpool’s defense is the most obvious place for reinforcements and Virgil would slot right into a partnership with Joël Matip.
But £50M? What are you getting? £50M for a 25-year-old defender who has excelled in the league and still has his prime years ahead of him. It doesn’t sound so bad, I guess. But that’s a lot of scratch for a defender who, at Liverpool at least, will be expected to improve the defense mightily and will be under pressure to perform more consistently and assuredly than Dejan Lovren from day one.
There’s also the little matter that Southampton were able to get van Dijk to sign a renewed contract just last May that ties him to their club until 2021. But of course, player power. If the man wants to move on, he will. But Southampton are in no position to be bullied and will not let the player go for peanuts. If Klopp and company really do want to put a red shirt on Virgil van Dijk, much coin will need to be released from the Liverpool money vault.
You can never really know if it’s worth it until the boots hit the pitch and the minds are in-sync and the celebratory dance routines are choreographed. But, £50M for Virgil van Dijk, is it worth it?