It’s been a baptism of fire for new Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino as he continues to deal with the troubled Dutch defender. Liverpool’s interest in signing him remains firm but the Merseysiders know that Southampton do not want to negotiate with them after their scandalous tapping up of the highly-regarded centre back.
Even if they are forced to thrash out a fee with Liverpool, the former English champions know that it will be far higher than other clubs would pay. Not only as punishment for their previous indiscretion but also with the £100m+ they are set to receive for Philippe Coutinho, 25, from Barcelona.
Chelsea are desperate for defensive reinforcements with 28-year-old Gary Cahill suspended for the weekend’s London derby at Tottenham. With Kurt Zouma, 22, joining Stoke City on a season-long loan deal, the Blues squad lacks depth with manager Antonio Conte determined to continue his favoured 3-4-3 formation.
The defending Premier League champions are keen to complete the signing before next Saturday and are preparing a £50m bid for the Dutch international. Southampton were previously contacted by Manchester City about the defender but a bid for him is unlikely given the strengthening of their defence during this summer.
Van Dijk trained on his own during the summer as punishment for his desire to move away and while things have momentarily come to an uneasy truce between the two parties, leaving St Mary’s seems to be the only option for the former club captain.