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Etihad Embarrassment: Manchester City Admit Defeat to Liverpool in Van Dijk Chase

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It doesn’t solve the Southampton problem, but now Van Dijk’s picked Anfield, City say they didn’t want him anyhow.

Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool may be stuck dealing with a Southampton complaint concerning their approach for star centre half Virgil van Dijk, but is appears they at least won’t have to worry about Manchester City’s interest in the player any longer, with new reports claiming the monied upstarts from Manchester had already moved on.

Similar to Manchester United claiming they were never really interested in Antoine Griezmann when, following Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban, the player made it known he wouldn’t be changing clubs this summer, City have responded to reports of Van Dijk choosing Liverpool by saying they weren’t all that interested in the first place.

Multiple releases in the English press today claim that even if City manager Pep Guardiola thinks Van Dijk is a top player and one he admires, City’s real defensive targets lie elsewhere. That while City think Van Dijk is good, his lack of top European experience always made City leery of spending £50-60M to secure his services.

City, it should be noted, have invested £120M over the past three summers in the signings of John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, and Eliaquim Mangala. It’s an outlay on centre halves with major question marks—at least for the ones not already written off as transfer failures—that makes Van Dijk look a bargain at almost any price.

An attempt by City now to make it appear that once it became clear Van Dijk would cost upwards of £50M they decided to move on despite their history of overspending in the transfer market—they’ve already dropped £75M on Ederson and Bernardo Silva this summer—is, at best, an amusingly self-serving bit of narrative.

Now Liverpool just have the worry of whether they can negotiate with Southampton after the Saints lodged a formal complaint with the league over the manner of Liverpool’s approach for Van Dijk. At least while they do that, though, it appears they won’t have to fend off a rekindling of Manchester City’s interest.