Opinion: How does the Virgil van Dijk sale affect Southampton's January transfer window?

The Dutchman completed a huge move to Liverpool, as confirmed by the Reds on Wednesday.

Opinion: How does the Virgil van Dijk sale affect Southampton's January transfer window?
(Photo by Craig Mercer - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Southampton fans' fears have come true as the transfer of in-demand defender Virgil van Dijk was confirmed on Wednesday evening, with Liverpool winning his signature and becoming the latest of the trend of Saints players making the move to Anfield in recent weeks. 

The south coast outfit cashed in for £75 million and now means supporters will expect that money to be reinvested into the playing squad as the club suffers from an appalling campaign in the Premier League and Mauricio Pellegrino's job worryingly on the line at St. Mary's. 

Now Southampton only have a handful of senior centre-halves at their disposal; Jack Stephens, Wesley Hoedt and Maya Yoshida.

In a drastic attempt to improve the side's form to escape a dreaded relegation scrap, the Saints desperately need to acquire a van Dijk replacement next month, as well as address their goal scoring problems and solidify the back line. 

 

 

Is van Dijk's departure as much a problem as people make it out to be?

It is clearly identifiable that since the summer, van Dijk's true ability on the pitch hasn't been shown having pushed for a deserved transfer to a top four club last window and his performances haven't been up to scratch for the first half of this season in the famous red and white jersey. 

The 26-year-old has predominantly been one of the first names on the team sheet but it's quite apparent that he has been distracted by the summer events and his inclusion in Pellegrino's first-team has not been immediately obvious. 

In fact, van Dijk's absence from the starting eleven has now become obvious. He may have been dropped for the trips to Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month, and, respectively, there's been no downgrade in the woeful performances of Southampton.

Defensively, with or without him, the Saints have been struggling - the former Celtic man did not make a difference since returning to the senior squad following an injury which kept him out of action for the first couple months of the calendar year. 

Where should the money be spent?

Any Southampton supporter will happily admit that their club have been in dismal form since the campaign got underway, with the inability to create chances and putting them in the back of the net being the early issues raised under Pellegrino. 

With Charlie Austin seemingly the only source of goals at the minute, despite his minor absence at this moment in time due to a suspension, the Saints need to improve their goal scoring capabilities in the January transfer window and the van Dijk cash can easily contribute towards that. 

Saying that, the first-team only has three senior centre-backs now following the exit of their prized possession. Finding a replacement must be the priority for the boss in January, and not just anyone, they have to be an instant starter to make an immediate impact on the team to dramatically improve the displeasing league position. 

If the Saints are to invest the entirety of the money into the playing squad, which does seem unlikely, then a new goalkeeper should be on the list. Fraser Forster has failed to cope with the competitiveness inside his own box this campaign and has twitched a few nerves among Southampton fans; perhaps no longer being the shot-stopper to help lift the club up the Premier League table.