Is there anything more exciting than a Liverpool transfer rumour? From wondering about whether Jürgen Klopp really is interested in Virgil van Dijk to contemplating Mamadou Sakho leaving to replace a player who is headed to Manchester City or Chelsea, there is so much fun to be had.
Apparently Southampton are interested in Sakho's services this summer after he proved both his fitness and quality for Crystal Palace. The on-loan defender has made a considerable impact on Sam Allardyce’s team with three wins and three clean sheets in his three league starts for Palace. This fine form has led to Sakho being nominated for the Premier League player of the month award for March.
Allardyce has talked about the difficulty in getting a potential deal done, but he will have to pay up and beat more attractive competition that includes Napoli. Liverpool’s £20 million asking price wasn't close to being met in January, but a loan fee of £2 million along with his wages being paid in full was enough to seal a temporary move to south London. Maybe Southampton won't run away from paying close to the asking price at the second time of asking.
Kalidou Koulibaly could have moved to Chelsea last summer, but Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis wanted more than £50 million. Will Antonio Conte get his way with Van Dijk this summer? Unfortunately for fans of Van Dijk that have pledged allegiance to Merseyside’s finest, The Daily Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe indicated that any potential Liverpool deal would be unlikely given the competition and sums (the John Stones effect) involved to sign the player.
Bascombe is among a number of club-connected journalists that are reliable for transfer rumours, but he is not one of the Football Gods. There could be a future where Manchester City buy Aymeric Laporte and Chelsea buy somebody who isn't called Virgil van Dijk. Maybe then Liverpool would have a chance where the asking price would be more feasible. Speaking of feasible, Michael Keane was recently called up into the England squad and became a full international. He looked good in his two appearances against Germany and Lithuania to suggest that he might be the sort of player who can make the next step at one of the league’s best clubs.
According to Bascombe, Jürgen Klopp is on the lookout for a centre back. Surprise! This was always going to be the case after banishing a good defender in Sakho. Joël Matip needs a quality partner, Dejan Lovren needs to be a first reserve, and Klavan needs to be a serviceable option fighting young talents for fourth spot on the depth chart. Lucas Leiva, as loveable and loyal as he is, shouldn't be considered as anything but an absolute emergency.
For Crystal Palace fans that have taken to Sakho so quickly, there's no purchase clause in his loan contract. Sakho will be available on the open market, and if he continues to show his talent as he did last season, there will be more interest in a player with his skill set. Liverpool fans have always joked about buying Southampton’s scouts as they know how to identify good players early, but it seems that Liverpool have done the scouting and handled Premier League adaptation process for them.
This is not how it’s supposed to be, but if Liverpool can receive a relatively big fee for Sakho, Klopp and his team can reinvest it into the first-team squad. However, can Liverpool use that money to get a better centre back than Mamadou Sakho? The immediate priority, though, is beating Everton on Saturday and securing Champions League football for next season.