In fairness, Southampton at least threatened similar moves in previous deals with various clubs (Alderweireled, Chambers, Lovren, as pointed out by various Liverpool blogs including Empire of the Kop), so perhaps this is standard procedure for them. Or perhaps this explains why there have been semi-conflicting reports over the past 24 hours of Liverpool agreeing a deal with Virgil van Dijk yet Southampton, having not received a bid from any team, not at all concerned about their £60m-rated defender leaving.
If they hadn’t given permission to Liverpool (or any other team) to talk to their player, and Van Dijk hasn’t caused a fuss about it, it would make sense why they’re not expecting to lose yet another big money star to the a Premier League heavyweight.
Liverpool of course “strongly reject” any claims of tapping up the 25-year-old center back, but even just the suggestion, even if proven incorrect, will linger for a while should Van Dijk eventually move to Merseyside.
Let this be a reminder to Chelsea to not do anything silly or Peter Kenyon-esque again.