It was announced yesterday that Virgil van Dijk will be joining Liverpool from Southampton in January.
Whilst Kopites all over the globe will be delighted with the news, there will be mixed feelings on the south coast.
To get the lowdown on how Southampton fans feel about the deal, the player himself and exactly what Liverpool are getting for their money, I spoke to Luke Osman, editor of our sister site Read Southampton.
Here’s what he had to say:
So, the saga is finally over and Virgil van Dijk will officially become a Liverpool player on January 1st, your initial thoughts?
I’m relieved, in a way. Virgil is an outstanding footballer but the whole saga went on for too long. I’m disappointed he’s left on this sour note but will remember him fondly for one and a half seasons of quality. £75m is too good to refuse, so it’s probably a decent move for all parties.
In hindsight, as noble as Saints’ stance was, do you think it’d have been better to sell him in the summer, given his hold out, lack of form and the clear need for investment at Southampton?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing – I think it would have been a better move in the summer, yes. We’re desperate for attacking inspiration, but more so a new manager, and hopefully the added funds can help us to strengthen in January. We cannot keep continuing to be a sitting duck for the top six sides but perhaps our stance was counter-productive.
£75m will make Van Dijk the most expensive defender in the history of football, do you think his ability justifies him having that honour?
Ability wise, he is right up there with the very best. I’ve never seen a player go about his business with such confidence and ease. He’s a unique player, and a freak of nature. He’s so strong and so fast. I think £75m is probably a little too steep based on his current quality but he can become the best defender in the world. He can be as good as he wants to be, the sky is the limit. £75m could, with the way the market is continuing to rise, be perceived as a bargain in two seasons.
Your fans often give Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana abuse for how they left Southampton. Will Van Dijk be the new public enemy number one on the South coast when we visit in February?
He will. Our fans hate the way he’s gone about things and rightly so, in my opinion. He was unprofessional in the summer, went on strike, went behind our backs and failed to play for the shirt when called upon this season. You could argue that he’s gone about getting his move in an even worse manner than the likes of Lovren and Lallana, who get regularly lambasted. It won’t be a good reception for Virgil at St Mary’s.
Finally, he’s not been in good form this season, should we be worried or would you put that down to his lack of a pre-season and his head being elsewhere?
His heart just wasn’t in it. He’ll be sensational for Liverpool, I’m certain of it. It was a long injury lay-off for Virgil but he has had a very long time to recover. I’m sure he’s fine now but he could be slightly lacking match fitness. He hasn’t been good this season but his head was elsewhere. He’ll need time to adapt at Liverpool, given how the playing styles under Claude Puel/Maurico Pellegrino and Jurgen Klopp are totally polarised, but it shouldn’t be too big a problem for a player of his quality.