Virgil Van Dijk has handed in a formal transfer request to Southampton, a move inspired by a fine of two weeks’ wages from the Premier League club.
The towering and influential center back says he’s made no secret of his desire to leave St. Mary’s for bigger challenges, and that Saints have known of his desire for six months.
It’s been a messy situation, one that extends beyond Van Dijk’s saga with Liverpool. That saw the Reds threatened with legal action, as the Merseyside club apologized for interfering in Van Dijk’s time at Southampton.
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A source close to Van Dijk claimed on July 25 that the center back would be with Liverpool by the end of the transfer window.
A price tag of close to $70 million sits on Van Dijk, and Southampton has added center back Jan Bednarek from Lech Poznan on this summer. The club also has Maya Yoshida, Jack Stephens, and Florian Gardos in its ranks.
Van Dijk said in a statement that “multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed” in their pursuit of his services. In addition to Liverpool, Chelsea has been linked with a move for the former Celtic back.
This could have lower key resonance to the Neymar transfer saga, as $70 million is a lot to spend but Southampton are wise investors. Should Saints sell Van Dijk, it’s unlikely they’ll leap heavily into the transfer market.
Southampton has been linked with Juventus’ Mario Lemina and Benfica’s Andre Almeida, two versatile players who would cost a total of $32 million.