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Virgil Van Dijk Praises Saints
Monday, 11th May 2020 09:28

Virgil Van Dijk has been talking to the media about how his career has developed and has praised both Saints and then manager Ronald Koeman for helping in the progress he has made.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo Virgil Van Dijk has been complimentary to Southampton Football Club for their part in his progress and believes we were 'very good' for his development.

"The main reason was Ronald Koeman," the Dutchman told Sky Sports of his decision to leave Celtic.

"I knew players that were there, Dusan Tadic, Jordy Clasie, Graziano Pelle. We had a fantastic team at the time, and I think we had a record-breaking season in my first year there.

"I envisaged going there with all of these goals to achieve and my first season especially was outstanding. Southampton have been very good for me."

In truth when we signed Virgil Van Dijk we always knew he would go on to bigger and better things, sadly in today's money driven game we were never going to hang on to him for too long.

In fairness to Van Dijk and I haven't got many good words to say about him as a person, he saw that he needed to develop and saw Saints as the right place to do it with a reputation for bringing on players from both the academy and in the transfer market and turning them into better players.

Liverpool were touted as a club who were interested in Van Dijk back in 2015, but they needed to see that the player could perform in the Premier League, of course he looked good for Celtic, but the Scottish Premier League is not a top quality league and during Van Dijk's tenure in Glasgow they had no real competition given Rangers demotions due to financial issues.

So they were happy to let him come to Liverpool and see him progress and come to terms with the Premier League before taking a risk on him themselves,

Ironically Saints record breaking season as Van Dijk himself puts it was at the expense of Liverpool who finished 8th, 3 points and two positions behind us, ironically one of the central defenders last games for the club was in the 1-0 victory for Saints in the EFL Cup semi final first leg at St Mary's against Liverpool.

Some Saints fans rant and rave about Saints being a selling club, but a look back at our history shows tat our rise in the 1960's was based on being able to produce some great players and sell them on and that has continued throughout the years whoever is in charge of the club.

Indeed as we can now, see our problems are not about selling players but replacing them adequately, to be blunt if we are not selling players it means that they are not doing well as no one else wants them.

This is not a lack of ambition in the club, but a clear picture of the reality of the situation that we are in, there are few truly multi billionaire owners around these days who can fund a club to the level needed to even take on the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, even Roman Abramovich's Chelsea, a decade or so ago considered the wealthiest club in England cannot compete for the title anymore, your average Billionaire knows that you can no longer just buy your way to the title, football finances have moved on a lot in the last decade.

A decade or so there were few big clubs, as Chelsea proved, new owners could walz in and buy their way to the title, it's not like that anymore, there are 6 clubs light years ahead of the rest and even the likes of Everton who have money cannot buy their way into even the top six let alone the title.

But the issue most Saints fans have with Virgil Van Dijk is the way that he left the club which was not done in a very savoury way, of course most of us can see just why he would want to leave, given that he has now won the Champions League and but for this virus also the Premier League.

The sorry saga back in the summer of 2017 should have shown every Saints supporter that the club cannot keep players when their heads have turned, what more could we do apart from tell the player he was staying and to get on with it as such, 10 years ago a player might have done just that, but these days they are playing for so much more money.

Perhaps when football has come through this virus the game will have changed for the better, the likelihood though is that at the top it will still be money that talks and it is hard to see that changing.

Saints though can do what brought them so much success in our terms, that is find those potentially great players and make them great and hopefully then sell them when the time is right for us, not because they just demand it as was the case with Virgil Van Dijk, who might well be the best central defender any of us have seen play in a Saints shirt, but is at the opposite end of the table in terms of being a moral & ethical person.

Photo: Action Images

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TimSaint added 13:54 - May 11
It still bugs the sh1t out of me that Liverpool, after being found guilty of tapping up, issued a full on apology and retracted their interest in the player.

Billeewithers added 01:06 - May 12
It’s still hard to beat Tony Knapp or big John McGrath or even Docker Walker and Dave Webb for sheer which way is the ball entertainment!

Billeewithers added 01:11 - May 12
By the way I think Saints were wrong to allow the situation to develop regardless..... he had to go because he was just to good not to. SupportING your best players in their careers and all players for that matter creates the club atmosphere of progression and therefore the on field attitude Saints need in order to compete.
It also helps to know in advance so as to get the longest possible time to shape a replacement of some kind and thus help continuity.

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