With only hours left until the transfer window slams shut, Sky Sports have confirmed what has seemed increasingly likely in that Southampton central defender Virgil Van Dijk will not be leaving the club this summer.
The Dutch international has been linked with Liverpool throughout the summer, alongside the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, and even went so far as to submit a formal transfer request.
Since the start of the season, the defender has been training with the under 23s squad after boss Mauricio Pellegrino revealed that he was not in the right frame of mind. It is currently unclear whether that will continue or if Van Dijk will return to the fold for the newly appointed manager.
With big money reportedly on the table, it is a real statement from the Saints. Having developed a reputation as a selling club, they have finally held on to one of their key player after years of losing them. On many occasions, those key players have departed for Anfield, something the club were increasingly reluctant to avoid this summer.
For Liverpool, it means that the club will most likely go without adding a new centre-back to the squad this summer, with Andrew Robertson the only defender to arrive from Hull. That will be a huge disappointment for many Reds fans, with a leaky defence having cost their side on several occasions both last season and early on this season too.
Southampton could now look to build their defence around Van Dijk, with the likes of Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens having stepped in whilst he was sidelined by an ankle injury since January.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the news:
— Fresh Saints (@FreshSaints) August 31, 2017
— FM Saints Researcher (@MatthewLeGod) August 31, 2017
— Nick Thompson (@NickThompson20) August 31, 2017
Liverpool fans weren’t happy…
2 FUCKING months to bring in a centre back. 2 whole fucking months, but apparently Van Dijk is the only defender in the world.
— – (@AnfieldRd96) August 31, 2017
Seven nervy hours to go and still not a whisper about Van Dijk. Somewhere, Dejan Lovren puts the champagne on ice.
— Liverpool Offside (@LFCOffside) August 31, 2017
The news we've been dreading all summer has finally been 100% confirmed: Virgil van Dijk is staying at Southampton. pic.twitter.com/uOSHWY8HQd
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) August 31, 2017
Spent literally 3 months hoping that Southampton would phone us and say "Do you wanna bid lads and take our best player?" Behave.
— Dean (@DeanCoombes) August 31, 2017
ITKs who promised Van Dijk all summer….. pic.twitter.com/XHAs9D10Q1
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) August 31, 2017
Me seeing the news about Van Dijk is officially staying. pic.twitter.com/gyJaxYjDMX
— • (@VintageSaIah) August 31, 2017
I'm sorry but I can't quite workout selling Sakho when we are already short on centre backs. Especially with no Van Dijk coming in ?
— Anfield Leak (@AnfieldLeak) August 31, 2017
But their rivals found it hilarious…
Liverpool & Van Dijk are like that couple that everyone knows should be together, but can't because of a crazy ex who won't let go
— SMO (@SalahCanWait) August 31, 2017
For a minute, I was scared of Liverpool. I feel unbelievably relieved that they didn't land Van Dijk or Lemar.
— Jordan Clarke (@FourFourJordan) August 31, 2017
BREAKING: Virgil Van Dijk will stay at Southampton this season.
Liverpool fans: pic.twitter.com/Nha3ND5f7j
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) August 31, 2017
And the hype was a perfect summary for deadline day…
Exciting few hours ahead with Virgil van Dijk, Alexis Sanchez, Thomas Lemar and Philippe Coutinho all set to go absolutely nowhere.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE_UK) August 31, 2017