Virgil van Dijk expects to be a Liverpool player by the end of the summer transfer window but it could take an offer from either Arsenal or Chelsea in order to prise him away from Southampton. The Netherlands international remains intent on moving to Merseyside but the Reds are yet to officially reconfirm their interest in him.
Jurgen Klopp's side were warned off Van Dijk earlier this summer after Saints complained to the Premier League over an alleged illegal approach. Talks have not resumed since, but Van Dijk has submitted a transfer request and urged his parent club to consider offers from rival sides.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea are interested in Van Dijk despite the player preferring a move to Liverpool, and according to The Independent are considering late bids for the 26-year-old who has been frozen out of the first team by manager Mauricio Pellegrino. The dilemma facing Southampton is should they receive and accept a bid close to their £70m valuation, that would allow Klopp's men back into the fray.
Southampton have seemingly already begun preparing for life without Van Dijk, having signed Wesley Hoedt from Lazio and it appears to be a matter of time until the ex-Celtic departs the south coast. Yet with three Premier League giants chasing his signature his destination remains deeply uncertain.
Arsenal's need for new players has swelled since the humiliating 4-0 defeat to Liverpool with Arsene Wenger keen on improving a back-four which has already been breached eight times this season. West Bromwich Albion's Jonny Evans is also a target, with Shkodran Mustafi expected to leave before the end of the transfer window.
Defending Premier League champions Chelsea have long been admirers of Van Dijk and having allowed Kurt Zouma to join Stoke City on a season-long loan Antonio Conte wants to bring in an additional defenders to bolster his options in the back-line. However, the back three of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger did keep their first clean sheet of the campaign against Everton.
That leaves Liverpool as the leading contender to sign Van Dijk. He could become the latest player to swap the south coast for Merseyside; following in the footsteps of the likes of Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane. But any deal is not understood to affect the future of Mamadou Sakho who remains out in the cold with no prospect of being recalled as the club hold out for £30m from Crystal Palace - with whom he spent the second half of the season on loan.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have all endured difficult transfer windows, with none of the trio landing their preferred targets and beginning the season as peripheral contenders to challenge the Manchester clubs for the title. Each will be hoping to complete deals in the twilight of the window but it is yet to be seen whether they will end the period with the squads they desire.