It is the transfer saga which has dominated Saints' summer.

A saga which has cast a shadow over the club's appointment of a new manager and even eclipsed the start of a new Premier League season.

Why, it even eclipsed 80 per cent of Southampton Football Club being sold to Chinese businessman Jisheng Gao.

It's an ongoing situation which has been played out on the back pages of this very newspaper for several months, and on quite a few inside pages as well.

Tonight, however, we will know how the great Virgil van Dijk transfer saga has resolved itself.

Here, the Daily Echo looks at the possible endings ...


Saints have been very consistent on this matter all summer.

They have always said the player is not for sale, and that they have no intention of wanting to sell.

For many fans, the club's stance has been admirable - given the criticisms of previous years that Saints' hierarchy have been all too quick to give in to players wanting to leave.

The impression created, rightly or wrongly, is Saints have been easy prey for the Premier League vultures - certainly the one from the red half of Merseyside.

This summer, there has been a definite change in attitude.

No more Mr Nice Guys.

Having said that, as of yesterday Saints had not received one single bid for van Dijk's services.

Nobody has tested the club by submitting a formal bid, and you can't reject something that you haven't been offered.

In many ways, it would be good to see the transfer window slam shut tonight with van Dijk still at St Mary's.

It would send a clear signal to wantaway players that they can't always get what they want.

It would send an ever bigger signal to clubs that Southampton Football Club have, for once, successfully played hardball.

And it would ensure that Mauricio Pellegrino has undoubtedly Saints' best player available to him for the first time.

A Saints team with van Dijk in it is obviously stronger than a Saints team without him.

But consider this question - has too much water flowed under the Itchen Bridge for the saga to have a harmonious ending if the player woke up tomorrow morning still a Saint?

Ok, many players at many clubs have submitted transfer requests before and had them turned down. That is nothing new.

But surely van Dijk, if he hasn't burned all his bridges at St Mary's, has certainly damaged a lot of them.

Perhaps irretrievably so.

In his statement earlier this month, he spoke of having conversations over the last six months about wanting to leave.

If that is true, then he started to want out just six months after signing a new six-year contract.

A six-year contract that made him Saints' highest ever paid player at around £80,000 a week.

We all know this is the state of the money-mad Premier League, a rebranding exercise formed purely out of greed and in the eyes of some pundits now ruined by avarice as well ... where contracts are not worth the paper they are printed on.

But even by Premier League standards, to want out of a club just months after penning a six-year deal is hard to stomach.

With all that background now in the public domain, could van Dijk seriously restart a Saints career that was rudely halted by injury last January?

Forget his fellow players, they will be happy to welcome him back. It's more the reaction he would get from the stands ...

And, lest we forget, every player has his price.

Barcelona sold Neymar because the player wanted to go and they thought the fee was large enough.

Ralph Krueger, if you asked him yesterday, could not say 100 per cent that van Dijk will not be sold today. Les Reed couldn't either.

If someone offered Saints £70m, possibly £80m, for a centre half ... well, if they did that then the club would be stupid not to listen.


This would be interesting, to say the least.

The club most often linked with van Dijk had to embarrassingly apologise publicly to Saints back in June for the unsettling stories that had appeared in the national media.

It was an incredible situation, for one Premier League club to have to make such a statement to another one.

In it, Liverpool said they were dropping their interest.

If van Dijk ends up at Anfield, either the Reds were lying or Saints have contacted them with a 'come on, make us an offer' line of enquiry.

Given all the history between the two clubs recently - plus the five players Saints have sold to Liverpool in the last three summer windows - how likely is that?

Anyway, Saints will only sell if someone makes them a crazy offer.

Seventy million pounds would have to be a starting point, unless a smaller offer comes with some players as well.

That is a crazy sum, bearing in mind the world transfer record for a defender is just over £50m at the moment.

Liverpool are believed to be chasing Thomas Lemar from Monaco, another player rated in the £60m-£70m category.

Could they really spend £140m on two players on one day?

Guess we will soon find out.

From the Saints fans' perspective, many would accept van Dijk leaving for big money - to Anyone But Liverpool.

If Saints do sell to the Reds, the fall-out should be interestingg ...


In some ways, the perfect ending.

The player gets his wish to leave Saints.

Saints accept a world transfer record fee for a defender who has no real desite to stay at the club.

And the St Mary's fanbase can laugh at Liverpool failing, for once, to get one of their players.

But will Antonio Conte spend £70m on a centre half? That's more than he paid Real Madrid for top scorer Diego Costa's replacement, Alvaro Morata. And top of the range strikers always cost more than top of the range centre halves.

Don't they?


By that, I mean Arsenal or Manchester City.

Arsenal's showing at Anfield last weekend illustrated their need for a world class central defender. But Arsene Wenger has only ever spent more than £50m on a striker, and that was this summer on Alexandre Lacazette, so we can almost certainly safely rule out him splashing £70m on van Dijk.

City, in contrast, could almost certainly afford £70m - despite signing a plethora of mega expensive defenders already this summer.

Surely Pep Guardiola hasn't got room for one more?