Saints Stand Firm on Liverpool Target Van Dijk as Board Plan to Shake Off Selling Club Tag
Liverpool highly-publicised pursuit of 26-year-old Virgil van Dijk appears to be in doubt, as new manager Mauricio Pellegrino plans on reintegrating the defender into the Southampton first team.
The Dutch international has been one of the most talked about players this summer, with a move to Anfield seemingly nailed on at the start of the transfer window. However, the Saints hierarchy and Pellegrino are determined to keep van Dijk at the club.
Van Dijk is currently not with the squad in their pre-season preparations in France, being allowed to return to the club's New Forest base, after being judged not to be in the right frame of mind, according to the Telegraph.
However, Southampton's new board of directors have been clear that they believe this is the first summer they do not have to sell their star players since the departure of former chairman Nicola Cortese in 2014. The Telegraph's report claims this policy also extends to rumoured Chelsea and Manchester City target Ryan Bertrand, and the club expect the players to accept the situation.
Liverpool were forced to apologise over their pursuit of van Dijk after Southampton complained that there had been suspicious contact between the defender and Reds boss Jürgen Klopp. The club also announced that they would be pulling out of the race to sign van Dijk, although various reports since suggest that the defender is still a transfer target at Anfield.
Liverpool have also been heavily linked with RB Leipzig star Naby Keïta. The 22-year-old had a standout maiden season in the Bundesliga last year. However, after seeing at least two bids unsuccessful for the dynamic midfielder, Liverpool are cooling their interest with an unwillingness to meet Leipzig's steep demands for the player.