It is no kept secret that Klopp is keen to strengthen his backline; however, as we progress through the summer, it’s looking more and more likely that he is determined to hold out for Southampton’s captain. The fact that Liverpool haven’t strongly been linked with any other central defenders during this transfer window, suggests that the German is putting all his eggs in one basket. A risk that Klopp seems to be prepared to take, as failing to add Van Dijk to his squad before the 1 September, would result in having to make do with the centre-backs he already has in his ranks.
Although yesterday it emerged that Van Dijk’s desire to join Liverpool hasn’t changed, Southampton’s stance also remains the same: ‘not for sale’. Yet their captain is still training on his own and hasn’t featured in any of their pre-season preparations.
If no further developments take place come deadline day, then Liverpool could be prepared to offer Southampton an ultimatum and pay their asking price. Klopp clearly regards Van Dijk as the missing piece of his jigsaw and doesn’t see any other available player capable of strengthening his defence as much as the Dutchman can. Therefore, Liverpool could be prepared to play the waiting game and continue to monitor the standoff between player and club until the end of August.
If Southampton refuse to ‘part company’ with Van Dijk, then not only would the Saints miss out on a huge transfer fee, but they would also be stuck with a player who doesn’t want to represent them. In addition, something that will be constantly on Mauricio Pellegrino’s mind is, the longer this problem lingers on, the less time he will have to bring in a suitable replacement. Despite Southampton’s owners knowing Liverpool are willing to break their own transfer record to bring the Dutch defender to Anfield, they seem to be even more determined not to sell to Liverpool, after losing more valuable players to the Merseysiders over the last few years.
Furthermore, what will be frustrating Southampton the most is the fact that Van Dijk has publicly spoken of his desire to join Liverpool – subsequently putting an end to a potential bidding war to acquire the 26-year old’s services. Moreover, this unwanted situation will not only have negative implications on Pellegrino’s dressing room, but also on the club’s undivided fan base. Therefore, with the forthcoming season less than two weeks away, the Saint’s hierarchy will be keen to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Recently, former Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher told 5times that he doesn’t think Liverpool have given up on Van Dijk: “Sometimes you have to have patience, I think the Van Dijk ‘saga’ will go right down to the wire and I don’t believe one bit that Liverpool have ended their interest in him at all.”
In a nutshell, what it all comes down to is: how long will Southampton keep up their stubbornness for? And how far is the player prepared to go in order to force a move away from St Marys? As soon as one of the two parties have a change of heart and consequently admit defeat, then the sooner Liverpool fans will know if their backline will be considerably strengthened going into the 2017/18 season.