Jurgen Klopp has been handed renewed hope of signing Virgil van Dijk after the Netherlands international told Southampton he will only leave the south coast club for Liverpool, according to the Mirror.
The Reds were forced to make a groveling apology last month after they were accused of tapping up the 26-year-old and appeared set to abandon the pursuit of their primary defensive target.
Southampton remain adamant that Van Dijk will stay at St Mary’s and are refusing to sanction the sale of another star player to Liverpool who have cherry-picked the likes of Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne in recent years.
Virgil van Dijk's Premier League season Games played21Clean sheets7Blocked shots5Goals1
Liverpool says sorry to Southampton
‘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,” said 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.’
The former Celtic defender, however, is reportedly ready to force Southampton’s hand by pushing for a move to Anfield, snub the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, leave the Saints in danger of missing out on £50million and being lumbered with a disgruntled player.
Jurgen Klopp has so far been frustrated in his attempts to significantly strengthen his squad this summer ahead of a return to the Champions League.
Mohamed Salah has arrived for a club-record £39m from Roma along with former Chelsea youngster Dominic Solanke, but Klopp has designs on signing a new midfielder and left-back.
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‘Yes, it will be a difficult one, maybe it’s getting more and more difficult, especially in England but we have made a lot of good things so far. If you cannot see it so far, you can imagine we have done a lot of things behind the scenes,’ said Klopp earlier this week.
‘Sometimes you need to be patient and that’s what we are in the moment — to wait for the right moment and then we will see what happens.’