Southampton 'hope Liverpool target van Dijk backs down over transfer demands'

Rufina Vignone
Agosto 1, 2017

Southampton have begun planning for life without Virgil van Dijk after reports suggested that they could move for £12m-rated defender Wesley Hoedt.

With van Dijk not participating in any matches in pre-season, the defender's match fitness will be below par especially considering he is returning from a long spell out injured.

The Dutch worldwide looked to be heading to Liverpool but the Reds were forced to issue a public apology and vow to end their pursuit after Southampton complained to the Premier League about their illegal approach.

Liverpool have still retained an interest in Van Dijk, knowing full well of his determination to push for a move to Anfield, and they can finally land their man as Southampton look for defensive reinforcements ahead of the new season.

That opened the door for Chelsea as the Mirror reported late last month that the Blues were plotting a £60m bid for van Dijk after Antonio Conte had made him one of his prime transfer targets.

The Liverpool Echo understand that the Toffees are pondering a move for another highly-regarded Dutch worldwide in Wesley Hoedt, with manager Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh said to have discussed the Lazio defender at great length.

However, Pellegrino, who dubbed Van Dijk "psychologically not 100%" and not "100% ready to defend Southampton" maintained that the duo had an excellent relationship and insisted that he had been informed by the club that they had no plans to sell.

One of them is 23-year-old centre-back Hoedt, who has four global caps to his name.

"I think they'll be a title challenger and I think if they get Van Dijk and keep Coutinho, they could even with the league".

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