Draxler and van Dijk

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Everton were also believed to be pondering the Dutchman as a potential replacement for long-term injury absentee Ramiro Funes Mori, with reports at the beginning of the month suggesting that manager Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh had scouted him extensively.

Former journalist, Ian McGarry claims Southampton's Virgil van Dijk will be a Liverpool player by Thursday - despite the Saints stance that the Dutch centre-back is not for sale this summer. "His experience at Lazio has been a positive one".

According to a growing number of reports in England this afternoon, Premier League giants Liverpool will not attempt to sign another defender this summer, should they fail in their pursuit of Southampton's Virgil Van Dijk.

"He's a good boy but I don't know why he signed this six-year extension last year (at Southampton) to be perfectly honest".

He told Italian broadcaster Premium Sport: "He requested to be transferred".

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Yet Independent.ie have been told by a Saints insider that they remain determined not to sell the player to Liverpool at any price in this transfer window, after what Southampton view as an "unprofessional and amateur approach" to negotiations.

Club chairman Ralph Krueger was initially adamant that Van Dijk would not leave during the summer, although all looks set to change if fresh acquisitions in the defensive department emerge. "For me, if you want to compete in the league and in the Champions League [Van Dijk is needed]".

Worryingly, James Pearce of the Liverpool ECHO has confirmed that if the Reds can not sign van Dijk, they will press ahead with Gomez, Klavan, Lovren and Matip as their four centre half options.

Van Dijk is now recovered from an ankle injury and a virus, although has yet to feature for Southampton this term.

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