In Focus: Chelsea, Liverpool may have to accept defeat in Van Dijk chase

Southampton are adamant that Liverpool and Chelsea target Virgil van Dijk will not be sold before Thursday’s transfer deadline, according to The Telegraph.

What’s the word?

The saga surrounding Van Dijk has been rumbling all summer ever since Liverpool made moves to sign the defender.

The Merseyside outfit were left red-faced, though, as they were forced to publicly apologise after being accused by Southampton of tapping up.

Van Dijk has since tried to force a move away from St Mary’s by submitting a transfer request and criticising the club for appearing to question his professionalism.

According to The Telegraph, despite the Dutchman’s desire to leave and interest from Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, the Saints are prepared to stand firm and refuse a sale.

The publication suggests that only a bid upwards of £50m would likely cause Southampton to reconsider.

Is it the end of the road?

Previous transfer windows have taught us that it is never really over until the market is officially closed for business.

With just over three days until transfer activity ceases, it will be difficult for any club to secure a deal for Van Dijk due to Southampton’s unwillingness to sell.

Chelsea recruited Antonio Rudiger earlier in the campaign, and with Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz in the squad, the club are not in desperate need to strengthen the back line.

As for Liverpool, their all-too-familiar defensive frailties have resurfaced this season.

With Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip being the first-choice partnership, there is always a sense of unease, but the pair did manage to help keep a clean sheet against Arsenal at the weekend.

The Reds would be hugely boosted by the arrival of Van Dijk, but with the clock ticking, it seems that they may have to go without.