Manchester City and Liverpool will be readying their check books.
Virgil Van Dijk, 26, was sat in the stands at St Mary’s on Saturday as Southampton drew 1-1 with Huddersfield Town.
He wasn’t injured.
Amid reports of Pep Guardiola’s Man City making bids for the $80 million Dutch center back, plus Jurgen Klopp’s well-known admiration for the player, this is also seeming rather ominous for VVD’s future at Saints.
Van Dijk’s manager, Mauricio Pellegrino, has confirmed he left him out for tactical reasons but was coy when asked about Man City, saying he hadn’t heard of any interest from Guardiola’s side.
He also van Dijk on the bench for Saints’ defeat at Chelsea last weekend after questioning the attitude of players “wanting to be at the club” without naming names after they lost to Leicester 10 days ago.
Asked by BBC Radio Solent after the Huddersfield game if VVD’s omission was down to an impending move away in January, Pellegrino had the following to say.
“Virgil, we know there will be a lot of speculation about him. He’s important player but I can’t say anything right now,” Pellegrino said.
So, basically, the deal has been done and either Man City or Liverpool do not want their new star center back to get injured over the busy festive period.
VVD wanted a move away in the summer and put in a transfer request after Liverpool were reported by Southampton to the Premier League for an alleged illegal approach. That whole mess saw Liverpool apologize and withdraw their interest as he remained at Saints.
Since then he’s returned to full fitness after being out with a foot injury but his form has been erratic for Saints this season and he’s looked increasingly disinterested as the January window approaches.
What should Saints do? Sell him in January and move on.
They can get two or three top players for the money they will get for VVD and they badly need reinforcements following just one win in their last six which has left them in a relegation battle. Saints want to halt their status as a selling club but these kind of scenarios aren’t healthy for anyone.
Both Man City and Liverpool need a new center back and if VVD can regain his best form he’s one of the best in Europe. Right now he’s no good to anybody sitting in the stands at Southampton.
It’s time for Saints to cash in and use the money wisely to push themselves back up the PL table.