Throughout the summer, Southampton were firm on their stance that they would not sell their best players but many feared that the club wouldn’t stand true to their world.
As football betting odds suggested, Virgil van Dijk heavily linked with a summer exit and determined to leave the club with Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City all interested, Southampton sat him down, rejected a transfer request and told him he won’t be leaving.
Despite the advances of several clubs, van Dijk was not sold and Saints legend Matt le Tissier has praised the club for how they handled the situation.
I thought they handled it excellently, I really do. Right from the start at the end of last season, they said ‘we are not interested in selling our players, we’re not interested’.
Again, the length of contract was key for me. Southampton stood by their word, which for me was brilliant.
At some point, yes we have sold our best players over the last few years, but if a club wants to progress, at some point there has to be a change in policy.
This summer, I feel, was that defining moment where they’ve gone ‘right, enough’s enough, we’ve done well, we’ve progressed the club.’
We’ve got to a point where we’re sixth, seventh, eight in the league in the last four seasons and if we want to try to get further, we have to do something about it’.
They’ve put their foot downs and said ‘no, we’re keeping our best players’ and when he’s fit he certainly is one of our best players.
With the transfer window now in the rear-view mirror, Southampton have welcomed van Dijk back into the first-team fold and he could earn his place back in the starting eleven relatively soon alongside summer signing Wesley Hoedt who is keen on partnering his fellow countryman at the back.
Southampton sit 13th in the table after losing to Watford last time out. The Saints have failed to score in three of their four games thus far and it’s safe to say that their issues to not sit with their defence but the addition of the Dutchman will undoubtedly make them stronger.