Virgil van Dijk is Liverpool's top defensive target, and the club are not put off by Southampton's £50M transfer fee demands. This is as close to a fact as one can get in the world of transfer rumours. Somewhat less certain is who else may be interested in van Dijk, with various reports also linking Chelsea and Manchester City.
No club, though, has been linked to him the way Liverpool has been. And no club has seen multiple reports from journalists with confirmed sources within the club confirm the seriousness of their interest like Liverpool. Against this background, today there are new reports claiming the player has agreed to move to Anfield.
At least if the Reds make the top four and qualify for the Champions League. So say Read Liverpool FC, at least, claiming that two separate sources within the club have confirmed to them that van Dijk is on board, has discussed long-term visions with manager Jürgen Klopp, and will head to Liverpool in the summer.
Or that he will at least if the Reds make the top four and qualify for the Champions League. This is news that seems both entirely believable based on what is known about Liverpool's van Dijk interest but, because of that and that it comes from an outlet without much of a track record, is difficult to take as gospel.
It's the kind of news an enterprising outlet looking to make a name for itself could claim insight into while feeling confident that it would come to pass. Because if Liverpool qualify for the Champions League, they will almost certainly sign Virgil van Dijk and everybody and their uncle's cousin's sister's son knows it.
So for now at least it's unsubstantiated rumour mongering. But it's unsubstantiated rumour mongering that's probably true regardless of whether the outlet reporting it has genuine insight into the situation or is simply connecting the very publicly visible dots.