Liverpool have today released a statement apologising to Southampton following widespread reports in the media that Virgil van Dijk had chosen Anfield and signalled that they have ended any interest in the player. This comes a day after Southampton reportedly complained to the league, accusing Liverpool of improper contact.
At the time, Liverpool fans had hoped that it was no more than posturing on Southampton's part, as for improper contact to have occurred there would have had to have been personal contact between the player and agents acting on behalf of the club—or with manager Jürgen Klopp himself.
It seemed a safe assumption this would not have taken place, and that any contact would have been through third parties on both sides, something that often happens in transfers and though it skirts the edges of legality, it is a practice every club undertakes and that none would expect to end up being punished for.
That Liverpool have apologised to the southern club and signalled that they will no longer move for van Dijk is as good as acknowledgement on Liverpool's part that they did overstep in their pursuit of Van Dijk and that they feared continuing to try to sign him could lead to a heavy fine or even a senior transfer ban.
Further, it now appears quite certain Liverpool will miss out on their top defensive transfer target and, by most accounts, Jürgen Klopp's top transfer target at any position as a result. The club's statement, in full, is included below.
Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs.
We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk.
We respect Southampton's position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.