Liverpool’s reported interest in Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk has been cast into doubt, while their Premier League rivals prepare bids.
Van Dijk has been widely heralded as the ideal defensive signing for Jurgen Klopp in the January transfer window, with his excellent form for the Saints this season catching the eye.
According to reports in the 25-year-old’s native Netherlands, Liverpool have sent scouts to watch every club game he has played in the last two months.
They were said to have been joined by representatives from Manchester City, highlighting the level of interest in a player who joined the St Mary’s club from Celtic in 2015.
Previous reports have suggested Van Dijk has a £25 million release clause in his current contract, signed in May, and while this remains a dubious claim, it would make the 6’4″ centre-back a sensible signing.
However, the Telegraph‘s Matt Law has since reported that Liverpool are not interested in signing Van Dijk:
I'm told tonight that Liverpool have no interest in Virgil Van Dijk despite what Dutch papers say #lfc
— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) December 6, 2016
The veracity of Law’s information remains to be seen, with Klopp likely keeping his cards close to his chest, but it certainly suggests no advances have been made as of yet.
This coincides with reports from the Times‘ Paul Joyce who, along with Rick Broadbent, has revealed interest from both Chelsea and Manchester United in the in-form star.
The Blues are seemingly looking for a long-term successor to the ageing John Terry, while United have struggled to settle on a regular defensive line since Jose Mourinho’s arrival as manager in the summer.
Both Liverpool and City have shown weakness at the back at times this season, too, making Van Dijk an attractive proposition for the majority of the Premier League‘s top sides.
The Reds’ 4-3 collapse away to Bournemouth on December 4 served to underline their fragility without summer signing Joel Matip.
Lucas Leiva and Dejan Lovren operated as Klopp’s centre-back pairing at Dean Court, and despite impressing for the opening hour, crumbled as the pressure mounted.
The addition of Van Dijk would be an excellent one, serving as the ideal partner to Matip at the back.
However if Law is to be believed, this is unlikely to be the case, but with reports conflicting ahead of the January transfer window, supporters can only wait and see what Klopp is planning.