Celtic fans are dying for the day Van Dijk is the subject of a world record move. Liverpool have almost bitten, but it seems that Chelsea will bite. And the Scottish club will receive 10% of the £60 million Chelsea are going to pay, according to many reports.
However, does this move actually make any sense (though I’ll admit “sense” is an overrated term in the current transfer market)?
In all honesty, Van Dijk should cost less. Much less. Southampton can probably get two (or even three) quality replacements with the transfer fee that they’re demanding for the Dutchman.
But, the Saints’ reluctance to sell him in the first place is what’s causing all the ruckus. Understandably, they are frustrated at the constant portrayal of their club as the supply line for Liverpool. And so they’ve blocked out the Reds from the negotiating table altogether, even earning an apology from them.
However, Liverpool’s hiccups have given way to a surging Antonio Conte carrying Roman Abramovich’s checkbook. And he’s not one to give up easily. Napoli were the recipient of some very aggressive tactics used by the Blues to unsettle Kalidou Koulibaly last summer. However, they too, fixated upon a price that just did not make sense for a defender with the package of the Senegalese international.
So Chelsea gave up. Napoli should have been smarter with their mouths and let the defender go. They, too, could have acquired two or three quality replacements from the more obscure clubs of the world for the fee reportedly on the table at the time.
And it is an example Southampton ought not to just pass by. £60 million is no pocket money, even in this market. It is enough to take a few gambles. And hope one of them pans out.
After all, is it really sensible for them to lose the deal altogether for a petty £10 million extra?
Van Dijk was injured for nearly half-a-season in 2016/17. He has yet to play again following that injury. Demanding £70 million for a player whose fitness status is not even certain is sheer stupidity.
Though you have to feel for the Saints. Their defence got to the point where it had to field Maya Yoshida at centre-back for much of the latter half of this past season. They sold Jose Fonte in the January transfer window, perhaps a bit too quickly in hindsight.
Cool. But what about Chelsea?
From a Chelsea perspective, this deal does not make much sense. Conte’s demands aside, the Blues have a few defensive talents currently under their wings that have massive potential. As a result, signing Van Dijk does not only represent a considerable financial expense now, but possibly in the future as well, when they’re forced to sell one of their said defensive talents for a miserly fee (see Ake, Nathan).
Their bargaining position with buying clubs weaken considerably if they know the player is not important. Because then they know the club will part with the player to make up lost revenue. Even if it means selling for lower than market value. The losses pile up one fold further if one of the defensive talents goes on to shine for his next club, only this time it will only be an emotional loss, rather than financial.
Why buy a player of Van Dijk’s quality when, given enough experience, one of Chelsea’s own can one day replicate, if not better, the Dutchman’s capabilities?
In the end, the Saints are getting, by far, the better end of the deal.