Friday 15 December 2017

Virgil van Dijk can be 'the man who takes Liverpool back to winning trophies' if he picks Reds transfer over Chelsea

Mario Lemina is swapping Juventus for Southampton
Mario Lemina is swapping Juventus for Southampton

Jack de Menezes

Jamie Carragher believes Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has the potential to “be the man who took Liverpool back to winning trophies” if he chooses the Reds over Chelsea this summer, providing his transfer request leads to his St Mary’s exit.

The saga involving Van Dijk and Saints took another messy turn on Monday when the 26-year-old handed in a formal transfer request, along with issuing a lengthy statement to reveal the “insulting” treatment that he has received over the last few weeks.

After expressing an interest in leaving Southampton, manager Mauricio Pellegrino banished Van Dijk from first-team training, even though the club are still refusing to sell him. The former Celtic defender is just one year into a six-year contract, and the club’s position remains unmoved in selling the Dutch international despite his transfer request.

Carragher addressed the situation surrounding Van Dijk ahead of the new Premier League season, and even though Liverpool have already had to apologise to Southampton for their ill-handling of their first approach, the former Reds defender expects them to renew their interest now that a transfer request has been made.

The former England international also explained that while Chelsea would look the more appealing opportunity given they are reigning Premier League champions, the presence of David Luiz may mean that Van Dijk is played out of position, rather than the centre stage he would be offered at Anfield.

“At this moment Chelsea are a better team than Liverpool, no doubt about it, but the way Chelsea are set up, you would have him as the middle man in the back three, and David Luiz is so good there,” Carragher said on Sky Sports.

“With Liverpool, the thing would be if you could go there and be the man who took Liverpool back to winning trophies.

“Liverpool have won one trophy in 10, 12 years. Can he be the one who is part of something that starts with Jurgen Klopp.”

Liverpool are believed to be considering renewing their interest in Van Dijk, despite manager Jürgen Klopp appearing to end their interest in the centre-back at the weekend. Monday’s transfer request, along with the revealing statement issued by Van Dijk that hardly paints Saints in the best light, will have caught the attention of officials at Anfield as well as Chelsea, and the two appear ready to trigger a bidding war in the hope of signing one of the Premier League’s leading defenders.

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