With Southampton having returned from their pre-season training camp in France and just ten days to go until the Premier League season kicks off, there had been hope at the club that a meeting with want-away star Virgil van Dijk would lead to reconciliation.
That the player could be convinced to commit one more season to the club after signing a new, long-term deal in the spring, and that he would then re-join his teammates in training, giving new manager Mauricio Pellegrino a boost heading into the 2017-18 season.
Instead, the player and team now appear further apart than ever. According to the local Daily Echo, Van Dijk rejected any attempts to settle his differences with the club and insisted he will not play again for Southampton and wants a Liverpool transfer.
The problem, though, remains that for their part, Southampton feel as though selling Van Dijk would make them look weak following their insistence that they would keep hold of him—and that in turn was largely a result of Van Dijk signing a new long-term deal in the spring.
Had Van Dijk not signed THAT new deal so recently, the club may not have been quite so insistent now that the defender would not be sold, particularly if Liverpool or some other club had been willing to make a £60M offer for the Southampton star.
Meanwhile, Liverpool continue to feel they cannot aggressively pursue the player due to the earlier accusations of an improper approach and their public apology and are instead having to wait for Southampton to signal their desire to sell him.
It is, in short, an impasse. If Van Dijk is insistent he will not play again for Southampton, though, the club may eventually have to make peace with the idea of dealing him in order to fund new purchases.