The Premier League will not take any action against Liverpool over the allegations of tapping up in the Merseyside club’s pursuit of Southampton’s prize centre-back Virgil van Dijk, according to The Times' Matt Hughes.
The South Coast outfit had earlier submitted an official complaint to the Premier League over Liverpool's conduct, with reports rife that Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp had met with van Dijk, and set out exactly how he would fit into Liverpool's team.
Southampton were understood to be angered at the perceived arrogance of Liverpool, who had not asked permission to speak to the player before getting involved in talks. The Saints believed this to be a clear breach of Premier League regulations.
Southampton have not withdrawn their complaint, and are still angry over the matter, but Liverpool have escaped potential sanctions such as a fine or transfer ban after there was “insufficient evidence” to support Southampton’s claim.
Liverpool moved quickly to publicly and privately apologise for their behaviour after the complaint came to light, with a statement coming out of the club admitting their ill-judgement and apologising for any “misunderstanding”. The statement concluded with them categorically saying that they immediately had “ended any interest in the player.”
That statement was published on June 7, and since then Southampton have not changed their mind. If anything, they are more determined than ever not to sell to Liverpool.
What happens next in the van Dijk saga?
With a new manager – Mauricio Pellegrino, the former Liverpool defender – Southampton’s stance has not altered as yet; quite simply, they do not want to sell van Dijk.
But with a player clearly indicating that he would have liked to have made the move north, what happens now?
Chelsea and Manchester City were both known to be interested, as were Arsenal, however with van Dijk having made it clear that Liverpool was his preferred destination, the interest from those clubs now would be strange: they and their supporters would be well aware that he would have joined Liverpool had the ‘misunderstanding’ not taken place.
Chelsea are rumoured to still be interested, but the other two clubs mentioned have completely dropped out of the running, with both pursuing other targets.
The likelihood of a Liverpool transfer going through lies entirely with the player himself, and whether van Dijk is prepared to kick up a fuss to force a move.
Even if he did, it would cost them upwards of £65 million, which would be a world record fee for a defender, and more than Liverpool originally thought they would have to spend.
The other consideration is that Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group, are reportedly cautious of going after van Dijk again, given the strength of the statement that they released.
Going back in for him after making clear they were not interested would make a mockery of future statements, and could prove to be even more aggravating in terms of future relationships with Southampton.
The likelihood of van Dijk staying put is perhaps more than him joining Liverpool at this stage, but the deal could be one to go the distance of the summer transfer window.
The main thing from Liverpool's perspective is that they can press on with other deals in the knowledge the van Dijk saga is behind them, at least in legal terms, if not PR terms.
Jürgen Klopp is still a huge fan of van Dijk, and would jump at the chance to get him, but the move is at the very least complicated at this point in time.