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Liverpool move not “plain sailing” for Van Dijk, warns Reds legend Fowler

Date Posted,August 7, 2017

Robbie Fowler has warned former club Liverpool over their chances of capturing wantaway Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk.

The Reds were after the 26-year-old earlier this summer but were made to abandon their pursuit of the Dutchman and forced to apologise to the south coast club after Saints chiefs threatened to complain to the Premier League, reports Liverpool Echo.

Van Dijk released a statement on Monday expressing his desire to leave the Premier League club and that he felt ‘insulted’ by the suggestion he had refused to train.

Former Liverpool player Robbie Fowler believes other clubs will come in for the Dutchman (Image: Power Sport Images/Marcio Rodrig)
Virgil van Dijk wants out of Southampton (Image: PA)

Given that the former Celtic man is only 15 months into a six-year contract, the Saints are set to demand a world-record fee for a defender to part with their most prized asset who they value at around £70million and Fowler doesn’t think a move to the Reds is cut and dried just yet.

He told the ECHO: “It was obvious that Liverpool were in for him but I’m not sure what will happen now.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if another couple of clubs came in for him, the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.

The Dutchman is desperate to play European football (Image: PA)

“I don’t think it’s plain sailing for Liverpool. In the early days it was us who were courting him and it looked like he was going to come but it’s been quiet for a good few weeks and the transfer request might prove a catalyst for others to enter the fray.

“I think he’s a great player and we’re trying to compete on a number of fronts this season including the Champions League so it’s important that the squad is right and we strengthen.

“He’d be a fantastic addition but until there comes a point that the club come out and say they’ve got him, I think it’s a little bit raw talking about him given what happened with him and Liverpool earlier in the summer.”

van Dijk has been training alone (Image: virgilvandijk/Instagram)

As well as trying to add to the squad, Liverpool are also fighting to keep hold of their own top talent but with Barcelona, armed with the £198million Neymar fee, circling for Philippe Coutinho, Fowler believes that Anfield’s Brazilian ace is best staying put.

He said: “Players have a bit more power now than they did in the past but Jurgen Klopp has come out a few times now and said he’s not for sale and I’ll settle for that.

“I want him to stay at Liverpool, he’s a fantastic player, and what maybe goes in Liverpool’s favour is the case of Naby Keita.

Liverpool still want van Dijk despite earlier summer issues (Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“Liverpool wanted him but his current club (RB Leipzig) dug their heels in and said he wasn’t going anywhere so I’m hoping the club can do the same with Coutinho if any interest arises because he’s a quality player who you want to keep.

“Coutinho is at a club where all the fans love him and his team-mates love him with a close bunch of mates so he’s in the right place.”

Like many Liverpool supporters, Fowler is frustrated by the Reds lack of big business so far this summer.

Despite the arrival of Mohamed Salah, Jurgen Klopp has been unable to land other high-profile targets to date.

Robbie Fowler joined Liverpool on their pre-season tour (Image: John Powell)

Fowler said: “You can never rest on your laurels and you always have to try and strengthen.

“Chelsea won the league last season but they’ve gone out and bought. Liverpool have aspirations of being the best in the country so it’s important that you don’t stand still and continue to grow because if you don’t, others will.

“You can get as far as Christmas and it’s still hard to gauge where you’ll end up, never mind in August.

“Liverpool’s progression for the past couple of years has been brilliant and you want them to progress and speaking as a fan here you want them to sign a few more players and be that little bit stronger.

“Last year we beat the better teams but struggled against the supposed lesser teams so if we can get that right then we can be a match for anyone.”

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