Liverpool have apologized to Southampton after the Saints accused the Reds of tapping up center back Virgil van Dijk. Liverpool called the situation a “misunderstanding” in a statement released on Wednesday, which came after Southampton reportedly threatened to file a complaint with the Premier League.
Teams routinely negotiate with players that are still under contract with other teams, albeit with consent. In this case, it appears Liverpool approached van Dijk without permission from Southampton, which is considered “tapping up” or “tampering.”
Here is Liverpool’s statement in full:
Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs.
We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk.
We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.
Van Dijk is one of Southampton’s most valuable players, rated at around £50 million and drawing interest from a number of the Premier League’s top clubs. Despite the player’s reported preference to join Jurgen Klopp’s outfit, it looks like this breach of etiquette means a Merseyside move is off the table.