Southampton have a massive problem in that perhaps their best most internationally renowned player, and captain, Virgil Van Dijk wants out of the club and his performances as a player are suffering so badly he doesn’t start anymore.
Let’s be clear about this. Virgil Van Dijk is one of the few truly complete defenders in world football who is in their prime and would immediately raise the defensive strength of a side. Bonucci is 30, Silva is 33, Ramos is 31, Pique is 30, Kompany is 31 and injuries have destroyed his knees and after those titans three the level of play lowers significantly anyway.
What a club would be getting with Virgil Van Dijk is an improved defence. Immediately. The team will be a tighter and more organized unit. Fewer headers will be won against them and they’ll be able to impose themselves physically on every striker in their league (except Cavani in France but with Zlatan still recovering and Drogba gone, there’s no striker with the physicality and fight to beat him).
The issue is that Southampton know that and whoever Van Dijk’s advisors are made an unbelievable mistake in that he has four more seasons left on his contract. Southampton don’t need to sell at all. It’s not like Arsenal with Alexis Sanchez. Southampton could very well take a stand and let Van Dijk sit on the bench for the rest of his prime and he’d have to deal with that. They make enough TV money that they don’t necessarily have to do anything they don’t want too.
That is why their asking price is so high. 70 million pounds is far too much for Van Dijk and they know that. But they also know that they frankly don’t need to negotiate at all. They aren’t desperate. What they need is another club who is on the opposite end of the desperate spectrum.