News that Virgil van Dijk has made up his mind to join Liverpool ahead of Premier League champions Chelsea and free-spending Manchester City could be a gargantuan statement of intent by FSG. However, a bid that satisfies Southampton has to be made and accepted first. According to the Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe, Mamadou Sakho could be involved.
A world record fee for a defender is expected to be agreed for the 25-year-old’s services, but Meresyside’s finest “may also investigate” offering players to sweeten the deal. Nothing more was mentioned, but there could be something in this. Southampton previously expressed an interest in taking Sakho on loan in January, and the French international possesses the personality and ability to replace Van Dijk. Swap deals rarely come off, but there could be the prospect of two separate deals being negotiated.
Even if Liverpool don't use Sakho in the Van Dijk deal, he’ll be part of plans to offset some of the fee for Southampton’s defensive star. Crystal Palace could return for Sakho after his successful loan spell in South London, but the only top flight club without a manager or head coach seems unable or unwilling to match Liverpool’s asking price. If there's a club willing to pay close to the £30 million demanded for Sakho, it matters not whether Southampton or Crystal Palace are interested or not.
Coming close to a net spend of £25 million bringing in Van Dijk and selling Sakho would be somewhat shrewd in this increasingly inflated and bloated transfer market. Amidst all the excitement at the prospect of signing quality players, there are unwanted assets that can be used to Liverpool’s advantage.