Back in the last knockings of the summer transfer window in 2015, Southampton completed a deal to bring defender Virgil van Dijk to St Mary’s on a five-year deal.
The Netherlands international had been playing his football at Scottish giants Celtic in the two years prior to his move to the South Coast, in which time the 27-year-old proved his capabilities to prompt Saints boss Ronald Koeman to spend £13 million on the centre back.
And while there were plenty of Southampton fans on Twitter that greeted the Dutchman back in 2015, there were also many Liverpool supporters who took to the social media platform, with many anticipating his eventual move to Anfield such had been the history between the two sides in the years previous…
— Arif Mamun (@arif_mamun) September 1, 2015
— Kop Magazine (@TheKopMagazine) September 1, 2015
Sending van Dijk on loan to Southampton is great business for us #LFC
— Sam Clarke (@SamClarke96) September 1, 2015
— Arun (@Kainthyy) September 1, 2015
— Professor! (@__deinde) September 1, 2015
— HN. (@HeavenDeBruyne) September 1, 2015
— Les Bleus (@virgilvanbae) September 1, 2015
And, while he didn’t make the move to Liverpool in the succeeding transfer windows, those Reds supporters have predicted the future brilliantly given van Dijk did indeed sign for the Merseyside giants at the start of this year’s winter transfer window.
And given how influential he has already been in Jurgen Klopp’s team, it looks like £75 million very well spent indeed.
Ultimately, the 27-year-old enjoyed a fine stint at Southampton between 2015 and 2018 to help the Saints to back-to-back top half finishes in the Premier League, prompting many to deem the Netherlands international as one of the best centre backs in the division.
And while he didn’t cover himself in glory in the latter stages of his time at St Mary’s, there is little doubt that he served the club well during his time there, before signing for Liverpool for a world record fee for a defender at the start of 2018.
And the Dutchman has taken it to another level at Anfield in helping solidify a backline that many felt simply wasn’t good enough to challenge for major titles, only for van Dijk to come in and help inspire them to the Champions League final, and indeed top spot in the Premier League four games into this term.
In fact, the Reds had one of the best defensive records in the top-flight post-January and are the lowest conceders in the league so far this time round – much of that can be put down to van Dijk’s presence and influence in that backline.
Thus, while many of those Liverpool fans somewhat mocked Southampton back in 2015, what with the likes of Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, and Rickie Lambert making the move to Anfield from St Mary’s in 2014, and Nathaniel Clyne in 2015, they seemed to know how things would pan out for van Dijk.
Liverpool and Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!