In Focus: Liverpool will struggle to complete Van Dijk deal, even for £70m

According to reports in the Sunday Express, Liverpool have been told that they must pay £70m if they want to sign Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk this summer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Jurgen Klopp made the Saints centre-back one of his priority summer transfer targets and even though they believed they were closing in on a deal for the 25-year-old earlier this month, the club was forced to issue a statement of their official website apologising after the south coast outfit had reported the club to the Premier League and accused them of tapping the defender up.

However, the Sunday Express reports that the German hasn’t given up on bringing Van Dijk – who is keen on the move – to Anfield, although Southampton are refusing to budge on their £70m valuation of the player who has five years remaining on his contract at St Mary’s.

Also attracting interest from Chelsea and Manchester City according to the report in the Sunday Express, the Van Dijk saga seems to be far from over.

Why are Liverpool so keen to sign him?

Klopp wants to strengthen his squad and sign a commanding centre-half who is comfortable bringing the ball out from the back and in possession, and those are attributes that Van Dijk has shown he has on a consistent basis for Southampton.

Brilliant in the air – he won 96 aerial duels in 21 Premier League fixtures last term – the 25-year-old has established himself as one of the best in the English top flight just two years after signing for Southampton from Celtic.

Would they be willing to pay £70m?

It’s difficult to say but if they really want him, then they know what they have to do and the Reds certainly seem to be willing to splash the cash this summer.

Would Southampton really sell to Liverpool?

You can never-say-never, but it seems unlikely.

While the player may want the move, Saints are in the strong position of having a player who has five years remaining on his contract and they would prefer to keep him – or sell him to Chelsea or Manchester City instead if their valuation is met – rather than to the Reds.

What’s the verdict, then?

Well, while Liverpool have been quoted £70m  it remains to be seen whether Southampton would be willing to do business even if they met the asking price, and it will be interesting to see how things develop in the coming weeks.