Liverpool are reportedly preparing to pull out of the race to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, leaving an open path for Chelsea
According to a report by The Sun, Liverpool are set to give up on their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk, leaving a window of opportunity for Chelsea to capitalize upon. Reports have suggested that Southampton are willing to sell the defender only to Chelsea – a possible reason why Jurgen Klopp chose to withdraw from the race.
The reason behind Southampton’s decision is the fact that Liverpool tried illegal methods to approach van Dijk previously, following which the club threatened to file a report. The Reds issued an apology subsequently, but it looks like the Saints are in no mood to let their star defender join them.
Van Dijk has been a rock in the Southampton back-line ever since he joined the club from Celtic back in the summer of 2015. He gradually established himself as one of the most dependable centre-backs in the English top flight, which attracted the attention of big clubs like Chelsea and Liverpool.
The Merseyside club were believed to be front-runners after the player himself admitted to wanting to join Klopp. However, as things stand now, a move to Liverpool seems unlikely, making Chelsea the top contenders in securing van Dijk’s signature.
The Blues have already completed the signing of Antonio Rudiger this summer. But perhaps, Antonio Conte is still not satisfied with the options at his disposal beyond his first-choice central defenders – Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill.
There are seemingly no hurdles on his path to sign van Dijk now, thus making it the ideal moment for Chelsea to pounce. If Conte can manage to sign the player though, he will be happy to have secured the services of a strong defender to man his back-line.
Jurgen Klopp, on the other hand, has been eager to sign van Dijk for months with the Reds struggling to find a dependable partner for Joel Matip. Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan have not been consistent enough, which is why the Liverpool boss has been targeting the Dutch defender in the first place.
Additionally, van Dijk is very strong in air and that could have potentially been an asset for Klopp’s side which has often struggled in set piece situations. With that being said, it looks like the German manager is set to move on and seek a quality defender elsewhere.