The young Liverpool striker Domic Solanke, whom Reds have just signed from Chelsea has made history for England by scoring 2 goals against Italy, to secure a place for the World Cup final for the country’s U20 team. Solanke has definitely brough some positive news to Reds fans in a bizarre week for the Liverpool FC.
In this first full week of June, Liverpool gave many reasons – both good and bad ones – their transfer business to be broadly discussed in the media.
Virgil van Dijk Transfer – a setback for Reds?
While the Liverpool fans have expected the club’s executives to progress on the Virgil van Dijk’s deal and to strenghten the team’s defense in order to chase for the dreamed Premier League title, all turned into nightmare. Southampton have requested the Premier League to launch an investigation into whether Liverpool made an illegal approach for Virgil van Dijk. The Saints who were angry with Reds decided that they would not sell van Dijk at any price.
The press reported on Tuesday that Van Dijk preferred to move to Liverpool instead of going to Manchester City or any other club. At the same time the Saints have publicly announced that they haven’t been approached by any club to discuss the transfer of their captain. When Southampton board read repeated claims that “Van Dijk had been attracted by the chance to work with Liverpool’s charismatic manager, Jurgen Klopp, and a vision for how he might fit into his team“, and on top of that saw details of a prospective “£180,000-a-week salary” the Saints’ bosses were very annoyed.
“No club official or intermediary can make a direct or indirect approach to a player unless he is either out of contract or they have written consent from the selling club”.
This above is one of the league’s rules and it made Southampton to complain to the Premier League. Earlier this year, Liverpool have already been fined £100,000 by the Premier League for interfering with a 12-year-old Stoke player and were banned from signing academy players for 12 months. “Tapping up” on players is a violation that unfortunately happens a often. Chelsea, Real Madird, Barcelona and many other clubs were involved in such controversy. Manchester City who made a move for Liverpool Under 15s goalkeeper Louie Moulden wait to be approved by the Premier League’s five-step process.
The Van Dijk case is now more or less resolved when Liverpool went to apologize publicly by saying:
“Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs. We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk. We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.”
The statement issued by Liverpool, has been consulted with Southampton and agreed between the clubs. However, is this enough for the Liverpool fans, who more or less have been left frustrated by the issue?
Liverpool’s integrity being questioned?
The most painful thing for the Reds fans is that the Liverpool’s integrity has been questioned. The local fans have always believed that Liverpool FC is more than a football club. It has always been part of their local identity, it has always been a community. Many of them even call it a “family”. Despite that both Liverpool’s and Southampton’s executives agreed on the statement of apology, the document is just too vague and sounds too corporate. Explanation like “to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs” doesn’t say much about what happened, did Liverpool officials discuss anything with van Dijk’s representatives in violation with the Premier League rules and is there anyone responsible for a misconduct?
The whole saga has been embarrassing for the Liverpool fans. At the same time the club’s statement of apology says that there was “misunderstanding”, something that deflects the attention from the fact that there was someone at Anfield who acted inappropriately. Despite the statement of apology and the fact that the clubs resolved the issue, Liverpool fans would expect potential problems as the Premier League may still conduct an inquiry.
So, instead of entering into formal negotiations with Southampton, as they did on a number of occasions in order to secure the signing of an important defender, any Liverpool’s executives behaved in an improper and unprofessional manner. As a result of that Liverpool would probably miss on one of its most important transfer targets this summer.
It looks like that Virgil van Dijk saga is unfinished and will not end here.
The good news for the Liverpool’s fans is that the clubs has obviously done some good transfer business by signing the England U20 striker Dominic Solanke from Chelsea.
The boy has already brought some joy not just to Liverpool fans, but also to the whole country by scoring 2 important goals, which brought Englands U20 national team into a World Cup’s final. The young lions have achieved something which is unthinkable for the country’s national team – an England’s team won 1:3 against Italy to reach a World Cup final for the first in 50 years.
It looks like that Liverpool got one of the most promising young forwards in the country. The club management deserves credit for that, while the fans cannot wait to see Solanke in action at Anfield.