Saints hope to have wrestled back control over the future of Virgil van Dijk after asking the Premier League to investigate an alleged illegal approach for the defender from Liverpool.

The Daily Echo understands that the club’s board met yesterday morning to discuss their response to a raft of stories from journalists with strong Liverpool connections that reported van Dijk had decided he wanted to move to Anfield this summer.

Some went as far as to suggest that Jurgen Klopp’s personal involvement in the deal had persuaded van Dijk that Liverpool should be his next port of call.

Angered by the situation, Saints took the drastic step of contacting the Premier League to ask them to look into whether there had been an illegal approach for van Dijk.

Saints are adamant that they have not had any bid for van Dijk from Liverpool, and so there has been no permission granted for the player to speak to them about his future.

The club are showing a steely resolve to try and back up their words with actions in this transfer window.

Having been accused of being weak on player sales in the past, particularly with Liverpool who have cherry-picked Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane in recent years, they are adamant they are now in control of their own destiny.

Their policy of encouraging players to commit to long contracts has certainly paid dividends in this situation, with van Dijk tied to St Mary’s for another five years.

Saints remain keen for the 25-year-old to remain at the club for at least another season and believe they deserve that loyalty from the centre half.

If they were to sell him – whether that be to Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea - then it would only be for a rate well above his current market value, likely tipping the scales far in excess of £60m.

The focus now turns to van Dijk and his reaction.

If it is correct that he really is that keen on a move to Liverpool then the onus will be on him to push a deal through.

After this latest turn of events Saints are incredibly reluctant to do business with the Reds. It would be on van Dijk to have to create a situation where Saints’ hand was forced, but even then it would still depend on Liverpool paying probably around £65m-£75m to make it happen.

Liverpool could try and make an opening bid, but there is the prospect they could be outmanoeuvred should Manchester City or Chelsea attempt to step into the breach and take advantage of the situation with a huge offer to try and get a deal done quickly.

Saints are hoping that the furore will quickly dissipate and van Dijk will still be their player next season.

It is understood the club have also not received any offers for England left back Ryan Bertrand, who has been linked with Manchester City.

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