Assessing Liverpool and Southampton’s past dealings as Reds prepare bid
Slowly but surely, Liverpool are adding strength in depth to their squad. They’ve spent roughly £300m on new signings in the last three seasons – and there’s one club in particular who’ve benefitted from the Reds’ transfer kitty.
But if the latest reports are to be believed, Jurgen Klopp could be about to use his go-to club once again when the window opens this summer.
Of that aforementioned sum, Liverpool have given over £100m to Southampton since 2014.
They aren’t finished yet though, as it’s believed Klopp is willing to break the bank and part ways with in excess of £50m to acquire the services of Dutch centre-half Virgil van Dijk.
That would take Liverpool’s spend on Southampton players to £153m in three years, spread across six players. Not terrible business when you consider the south-coast outfit spent a total of £38m to sign those players.
But how have former Saints fared at Anfield?
First to make the move was Rickie Lambert, who signed in the summer of 2014 for a fee of £4.7m. A stellar two seasons in the Premier League with Southampton brought about 28 league goals for the former Bristol Rovers man, as well as an England call-up.
Of course, that sparked interest from the division’s heavyweights, and Liverpool were quickest out the traps.
However, he managed just three goals in 36 outings for the Reds in all competitions and was subsequently sold to West Brom after just one season.
Liverpool also signed Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana that summer for a combined fee of roughly £48m.
Between them, they’ve represented the Merseyside outfit on 163 occasions in the top-flight, but have they represented value for money?
The latter certainly has, registering 20 goals and 19 assists in all competitions. But Lovren has been very hit and miss. The Reds’ defence is still leaky, although he isn’t solely to blame. The expected arrival of Van Dijk may just bring out the best of Lovren…
Next to make the switch from St Mary’s to Anfield was Nathaniel Clyne, and it’s fair to say the England international’s game has improved since signing for £15m two years ago.
Were it not for Kyle Walker, Clyne would undoubtedly be first-choice right-back for the national team.
And last season the Reds completed arguably their best signing in recent years, bringing Sadio Mane from Southampton for £35m.
Make no mistake about it, Klopp’s men struggle when Mane doesn’t play. His strength, speed and confidence on the ball are everything fans want to see from their players.
The impact he’s had on this team has been remarkable. He’s netted 13 goals and provided six assists in his debut season with the club. But putting those numbers to one side, his all-round play has been a breath of fresh air at Anfield this campaign.
On the whole, Liverpool have signed a mixed bag from the Saints in recent years.
But at £50m, they’ll have to be sure Van Dijk is the right man for the job. From what we’ve seen of him so far in the top-flight, he looks like he’d fit in perfectly and would strengthen Klopp’s back line tenfold.
So will he live up to expectation?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing