Liverpool may be in the clear, at least when it comes to their risk of facing any kind of punishment following a strange few days that saw the club go from seeming locks to sign Virgil van Dijk to abandoning their pursuit of the Southampton centre half and fearing they could face a transfer ban.
At least according to Sky Sports, who suggest that at the meetings between the clubs and league at today’s Premier League general meeting, Southampton accepted Liverpool’s public apology and that in light of that the league are not expected to take any further steps or open a formal investigation.
That likely doesn’t get Liverpool any closer to the player they were after, of course, and it won’t do much to make Liverpool fans any happier with their club having watched them line up what would have been their biggest signing of the Premier League era only to bungle things catastrophically.
Avoiding a potential transfer ban that would have crippled the club as they prepare to return to the Champions League next season with what is currently a very thin squad is a very, very good thing. But it’s embarrassing that that and not the signing of Van Dijk is what we are now left to focus on.
The 25-year-old Southampton man is arguably the third best centre half in England and the best young player at his position in Europe not already at a top club. In short, he was the very best player Liverpool—or any other club, for that matter—could reasonably have signed this summer.
And he chose Liverpool over Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. He chose Liverpool over Antonio Conte and the defending Premier League Champions. He picked Liverpool rather than pushing for a move to one of the continental giants. And then Liverpool managed to screw it all up.
But at least now they are unlikely to top that monumental embarrassment off with a transfer ban. So that’s something at least. Or at least it’s something given the disappointing present circumstances. Which we can now only hope don’t somehow find a way to take yet another turn for the worse.