Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk will join Liverpool over Premier League champions Chelsea because of the prospect of playing under Jurgen Klopp, according to former midfielder Jamie Redknapp. Van Dijk's departure from St Mary's is a step closer after the Netherlands international submitted a transfer request and criticised his treatment by the club but it remains to be seen where he will be playing come the end of the summer transfer window.
The Reds have been continually linked with a move for centre-back Van Dijk this summer, having previously been forced to apologise after being accused of making an illegal approach to sign the ex-Celtic defender. The episode had thought to have ended The Merseysiders' interest however in recent weeks reports have suggested Klopp remains keen on adding to his defence.
Chelsea have recently emerged as a contender to sign Van Dijk amid Antonio Conte's struggles to sufficiently improve his squad ahead of their championship defence. The Italian has made four additions this summer but the perception remains that the Stamford Bridge club are short of the resources necessary to be competitive in both the Premier League and the Champions League.
Van Dijk, 26, therefore has a tough decision to make over his future but according to Redknapp a move to Liverpool seems the more likely option. "He goes, it's an absolute certainty," the ex-England international told Sky Sports. "He won't play for Southampton again. He has put in a transfer request and I think that probably suits Southampton.
"Let's be honest, I was there for a short time, Southampton are a selling club. If you have any ambition to be a top player you leave Southampton.
"Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, everybody else has gone. They paid £13m to Celtic for Van Dijk and they will get close to £60m, they will get a fortune for him. I don't blame Virgil one bit. This is what happens in football. He will already know how much he could get at Liverpool, how much he could get at Chelsea, this is what happens in football.
"He has probably already spoken to the managers. He could probably earn three or four times his Southampton money at Liverpool or Chelsea, so why wouldn't you want to go and play for a better club. I'm sure Southampton fans will say, 'That's out of order', but if anyone received an offer to go to a better job, you take it. You're ambitious.
"It's a difficult one. There's the pull of London, for a lot of players that's a big thing. But from what I hear Jurgen Klopp is a really big pull for him. He wants to play for Klopp and Liverpool need a centre-back desperately. Chelsea's need is not as strong and I think he will go to Liverpool. But I'm also surprised Manchester City have not gone for him. They must really feel Vincent Kompany can last the season."