A winger, a centre half, a versatile midfielder, and a left back. Liverpool’s shopping list heading into the summer was clear, as was their desire for the players they brought in at those first three positions to be good enough to walk into Jürgen Klopp’s starting eleven, with only left back potentially being a depth signing.
They’ve got the first part done, with Mohammed Salah’s signing expected to be officially announced within the next day or two. The second part, though; a centre half. That got a tricker when Liverpool had to apologise for their approach to Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk, but ex-Red John Aldridge doesn’t think that story’s over.
"Tapping up goes on all the time in the game,” Aldridge told the Sunday World. “Even if Liverpool went a bit far in their pursuit of Van Dijk before they spoke to Southampton, I don’t believe this transfer story is dead in the water. Van Dijk needs to make the next move, and I reckon he will tell Southampton that he wants out.
"Players and their agents hold all the power these days. If he says he won’t kick another ball for Southampton and demands a move, it will happen. I don’t like the way the game has gone in some ways and players can hold clubs to ransom if they want a move and big money offers are coming in, but that’s the way of the world now.”
Aldridge isn’t the first to say as much. As Liverpool have worked towards completing Salah’s move, there have been whispers the Van Dijk deal might not be dead. There have also been whispers that Liverpool are confident in also signing Klopp’s top midfield target, Naby Keïta. Getting all three would represent a stellar summer.
It won’t be easy, though. Especially in the case Van Dijk. Especially after Southampton’s threats of registering a formal complaint for tapping up the player and Liverpool’s public apology. In the end, though, money talks. Or at least that’s how Aldridge sees it, and how the former Liverpool striker thinks the club get their man.
"Let’s look at the facts here,” he added. “Southampton paid £13m for this guy a couple of years ago and they could end up making a profit of around £40m on him. Southampton will be in the money and the cash they get from selling Van Dijk could give their new manager a massive transfer kitty to work with.
"So I still see this transfer happening one way or the other and I certainly hope it does because I’d like to have seen a little more movement from Liverpool in the transfer market this summer."