Liverpool end interest in Virgil van Dijk, apologise to Southampton

Liverpool's under the table negotiating with Virgil Van Dijk has landed them in hot water but Southampton manager Claude Puel could get the sack soon, which in turn could help the Reds sign their primary transfer target.

The Reds had been willing to pay £50m for Van Dijk - a world-record fee for a defender. In May 2016, he signed another six-year contract that sees his current deal run till the summer of 2022.

Liverpool face an almighty battle to capture Virgil van Dijk - with Southampton prepared to ask for up to £75million for the player.

But the Saints are ready to reject an official offer, having been irritated by what they saw as an attempt to unsettle their player.

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Van Dijk is under contract at Southampton until 2022, which has given the Saints leverage in negotiations.

Liverpool's decision now not to bid for Van Dijk will also ensure the competing interest of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal is reinvigorated.

Celtic, who sold the centre-back for £13million in September 2015, stand to pick up 15 per cent of the south coast club's transfer profit if - or when - Van Dijk moves on.

The 25-year-old Netherlands worldwide is fast emerging as one of the Premier League's most in-demand players in the 2017 summer transfer after his commanding performances in the Southampton side.

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If both clubs agree the matter is over, then it is understood to be likely that the Premier League would not take anything further regarding the matter.

Liverpool have signed a number of Southampton's first-team stars in recent seasons, with Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert all leaving St Mary's Stadium for Merseyside in the past three years.

Klopp admitted that his side has "so much space to improve" as they return to the Champions League.

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