Liverpool FC

Liverpool apologise to Southampton and drop Virgil van Dijk interest

Anfield club’s announcement comes in the wake of media reports they were prepared to pay £60 million for defender

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 June, 2017, 2:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 June, 2017, 2:16pm

Liverpool say they have ended their interest in signing defender Virgil van Dijk this summer after apologising to Southampton over their approach for him.

The Anfield club’s announcement came in the wake of media reports they were prepared to pay £60 million (HK$606.45 million) for Van Dijk, easily breaking their record outlay for a player.

However, following those reports on Tuesday, Southampton asked the Premier League to look into the matter as to whether there had been an illegal approach for the player.

Liverpool’s statement on Wednesday dealt a huge blow to manager Juergen Klopp, who had according to British daily The Sun persuaded the board to meet Van Dijk’s huge wage demands of around £200,000 a week.

“Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs,” read the statement.

“We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk.

“We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.”

Van Dijk – who joined Southampton in 2015 after impressing at Scottish champions Celtic – was apparently keen to move to Liverpool not only for Champions League football but because his good friend and compatriot Georginio Wijnaldum is there.

Southampton have become a favoured hunting ground for Liverpool in the past three years having signed five players – including Adam Lallana and Senegalese star Sadio Mane – for a total of almost £100 million.