Liverpool have made no secret that their top defensive target this summer is Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk. The 25-year-old Dutch international would likely be a key addition as the Reds return to European action, where not conceding goals is vital to surviving and advancing.
However, when Liverpool execs return to their favorite shop on the south coast this summer, they might just be shocked at the inflated asking prices for their desired goods, and find themselves slowly backing out the door in embarrassment.
According to statements from Southampton’s chairman Ralph Krueger, the Saints are now at a place where they won’t feel nearly as pressured to sell as in years past.
“Here we sit in the summer of ’17 and we now have 18 top, or above average, Premier League players under three or more year contracts,” Krueger said in an interview.
“So 18 players have more than three years, gives us control over the summer for the first time.
“We will decide if anybody goes and we will decide who comes in, in the best interests of the club.
“We do not need to sell any player for the first time since I’ve been here.”
Krueger was then asked directly about van Dijk, whether that means the club would turn down an offer even larger than the previously rumored £50 million, up to £60 million, or more.
“Can we? Yes.
“The big thing is here again I want to underline the strategy, less the detail...I’ll tell you again, we do not need to sell anybody.”
Whether or not this is posturing for a bigger price, or genuine confidence of being able to hold on to talent in the hopes of pushing toward a European spot next season is unclear. That said, if Liverpool or others want to sign van Dijk or others from Southampton, they better bring their check book.
No word on whether Arsenal are planning a £60,000,001 offer for van Dijk.