Wednesday 25 April 2018

Southampton chairman claims Virgil van Dijk transfer saga 'left a cloud' over his club

Virgil van Dijk has completed his world record move to Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk has completed his world record move to Liverpool
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger has admitted he helped to create 'an earthquake' as he blocked Virgil van Dijk's transfer last summer and he now believes the decision had a negative effect on his club.

Van Dijk handed in a transfer request and demanded a move to Liverpool last summer, but Saints made it clear that they would not sanction a deal after the player and his agent staged unsolicited transfer talks with Premier League clubs.

Independent.ie broke the news that a £75m deal to sell the defender to Liverpool was in place in late December, with Krueger now admitting his club too a risk by standing firm on their decision not to sell back in August.

"Emotionally, it threw us off balance and financially it was a huge business risk," Krueger told BBC Radio Solent. "To make a stand and principle like that creates an earthquake."

"In no way shape or form am I angry at any one individual for what has happened here in the past months.

"It was under the shadow of a stand and principle. That chapter closes now. The cloud was there, we allowed a certain negativity into our very fragile environment, which is based on positivity, creativity, unity and looking at solutions."

Krueger also back manager Mauricio Pellegrino to turn around the club's fortunes following Van Dijk's departure, with transfer funds available in the January transfer window.

"We believe we can climb back up the table with the group we have," Krueger added. "We're a club on a long-term plan.

"From the get-go, Mauricio has completely embraced the way we operate here. The transfer that has just gone through is the end of a very difficult phase for the club.

"We feel we have a superb group of players at the club and that we're well poised to attack the second half of the season."

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