It’s set to be Virgil van Dijk or nothing, at least when it comes to defensive reinforcements as we enter the final ten days of the summer transfer window. There will be no Plan B, at least not when it comes to centre half, and despite Southampton’s public insistence the player is not for sale there is increasing hope at Anfield.
That’s because of the arrival of Lazio centre half Wesley Hoedt, who is set to be unveiled at St. Mary’s shortly and has been promised a starting role by Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino. If Van Dijk stays at the club, though—if he’s reintegrated into the first team—then Hoedt would likely become third choice.
“He requested to be transferred because he wants to be a starter in England,” Lazio sporting director Ighli Tare told Sky Italia today when asked about Hoedt’s expected £17M move. “He will be transferred to Southampton in the near future. He has had a positive experience here in Rome and so I wish him all the best.”
Meanwhile, despite new Chinese investment in the club having finally arrived and hopes earlier in the summer that when it did it would mean an influx of cash that would allow the club to buy without selling, word in recent days is that Pellegrino has been told he must in fact still sell in order to raise funds for further purchases.
Despite all Southampton’s recent talk about taking a step forward this summer—talk of funding their summer purchases with new money this time rather than by selling off a star as they have most summers since arriving in the Premier League—it could well be business as usual when everything is said and done.
Hoedt’s arrival and the need to sell to buy may add up to Van Dijk being sold. That, according to The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce, has Liverpool at least hopeful a deal can be done between now and 11PM on August 31st when the transfer window shuts. If it’s not, though, there will be no centre half signing.
Though there have been suggestions over the past week that Liverpool are looking at alternatives to Naby Keïta and could still move for another midfielder, it will be Van Dijk or nothing this summer. Hopefully for Liverpool, then, the math—Hoedt and Southampton’s need to sell—really does add up.