08 June, 2017
As exclusively revealed by the Daily Echo, Saints took the step of asking the Premier League to investigate whether an illegal approach had been made, and redoubled their determination not to be bullied into selling their most prized asset.
Liverpool are claimed to be the preferred choice for the highly-rated Dutch centre-back this summer, but Southampton are unhappy over what they claim is an illegal approach and Liverpool are now in discussions with the Premier League.
Liverpool appear to have edged ahead in the race for in-demand Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, who has indicated he prefers a move to Anfield.
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The 25-year-old Netherlands worldwide is fast emerging as one of the Premier League's most in-demand players in the 2017 summer transfer after his commanding performances in the Southampton side.
Strict rules govern transfers, with clubs able to negotiate terms with players only if they are out of contract or once a fee has been agreed with the seller. With Liverpool in the box seat for the 25-year-old and complaints over "tapping up" could well be a way of restoring strength to their position this summer.
"I can make that statement and - unless football decides it's in the best interests - we don't need to do that".
The Dutchman is the latest in a long line of Southampton stars to catch the eye of Liverpool, who have signed Sadio Mane, Nathaniel Clyne, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren from St Mary's, all in the last three years.
Marcotti is surprised at that decision because Van Dijk would be able to get a higher wage if he went to one of the other two Premier League sides.