Liverpool are expected to revive their interest in Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk despite publicly ending an ambitious pursuit earlier in June.
The Reds were forced to apologise for “any misunderstanding” over negotiations with the Dutchman, with no previous contact believed to have been made with the Saints.
This served as a major embarrassment for the club, who had already been subject to a youth transfer ban earlier in 2017.
But while Liverpool stated they had “ended any interest” in Van Dijk, they could still return with a big-money bid for the centre-back later in the transfer window.
That is according to the Telegraph, who claim that “it remains to be seen how the player himself interpreted events and whether the saga of his next move has run its course.”
This is reinforced by the Times‘ Paul Joyce, with the expectation being that the Reds will make another approach this summer.
The Reds had been willing to sanction a deal worth at least £50 million for the Netherlands international, who joined Southampton from Celtic in 2015.
Given the player was ready to commit his future to Liverpool, he could still arrive ahead of 2017/18.
Van Dijk has emerged as one of the leading defensive talents in Europe, and would bolster Jurgen Klopp‘s ranks significantly.
The German currently has Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez as his centre-back options, with Lucas Leiva expected to depart the club this summer.
Matip is arguably the most established of that quartet, despite the 25-year-old’s injury issues, and would provide Van Dijk with an ideal partner.
But with Lovren signing a new four-year, £100,000-a-week contract in April, the Croatian should play a major role for Klopp’s side moving forward, too.
Liverpool will be fighting on four fronts next season, after finishing fourth in the Premier League last term, and Klopp will require a bigger squad in order to compete.
Furthermore, with Roma winger Mohamed Salah poised to sign in a £35 million deal this week, the Reds are also clearly targeting a higher calibre of player as they return to the European stage.
Van Dijk would be Liverpool’s marquee signing of the summer, and if their interest is revived, he could become the most expensive centre-back of all time.