The past week has been pretty hectic in terms of transfers. The historic transfer of Neymar has overshadowed another transfer related drama that is going down, possibly because the club in question is not quite as famous as either Barcelona or PSG.
Virgil van Dijk, the Dutch center back that has become a star at Southampton, has reportedly become frustrated by his club’s attitude towards his desire to leave. In this situation, the behavior of both parties is quite understandable. Van Dijk is a world class player who still has several years of top form left in him, so it is natural that he would want to spend these years with a club that could pay him more, a club where he would be getting a great deal more respect than he is getting right now. On the other hand, the reason that van Dijk would be looking to leave is probably the reason why Southampton is not willing to let him go. While the club is certainly worthy of respect, it is not quite a world class club. Van Dijk is a big fish in a small pond, and as a result Southampton relies on him. Hence, they would obviously be reluctant to let him go.
That being said, it appears that Southampton’s feelings on the matter have suddenly become irrelevant. This is because van Dijk has filed a transfer request. He has already seen Liverpool, a club that is indeed worthy of a player of his stature, showing a great deal of interest in him. Liverpool would be able to offer him a far more lucrative contract, and his career at the club would take him places that he could never even dream of should he stick with Southampton.
Apart from Liverpool, clubs as prominent as Chelsea and Manchester United have shown interest in van Dijk as well. When you consider all of these clubs showing interest as well as the fact that Southampton fined van Dijk two weeks pay as penalty for wanting to leave in the first place, one can easily see why the center back would be so eager for a fresh start.
Southampton has not handled the matter very well at all. Indeed, the club has cast aspersions on van Dijk’s character as a player, claiming that he started showing a lack of interest and stopped training. Essentially, Southampton was trying to portray van Dijk as a prima donna in order to come out on top in the social media mudslinging contest that was occurring. They ended up losing their star player as a result, and the new manager Mauricio Pellegrino is going to have a tough time finding someone that would be able to replace van Dijk. It is safe to say that van Dijk is going to find a home for himself in a far more well known team, and Southampton is going to have to deal with his absence for a long time.