It seems that the drama will never stop regarding the costliest defender transfer saga, that had a host of top English clubs involved till the very end. Van Dijk joined at Anfield from Southampton with a sensational £75m deal, which had broken the world record for a defender, at the beginning of the January transfer window. It was reported that Chelsea and Manchester City were also interested for the Dutch international but the Reds won the bidding war.
It could have been very frustrating, as Conte admitted that he was keen to take the centre-back. But things didn’t go to his way as the West London club paid a full £25m less than Liverpool shelled out. The Blues showed no intention to pay more than £50m ($67m) for the Dutchman, which led the defender’s transfer to Liverpool.
The football world witnessed the same drama like they watched for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain last summer, who also made his way to Anfield, despite there being genuine interest from Chelsea for his signature.
Regarding the transfer battle loss, the Italian coach said, “This is football. This is life. For sure he was our target but as you know this is football. We can have a lot of targets but you must be able to reach those targets. The transfer market is not simple for any club.”
On the other side, Liverpool completed the transfer of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for a record £142m, which may help the side to buy some more though the attack needs some serious support.
Conte believes that the Coutinho deal helps the Reds to bid utmost for the Dutchman.
Conte seemed anxious and said, “But Liverpool bought Van Dijk to reinforce his defensive line, and I think Van Dijk is a top defender. And they spent £75m for this player.”
“The same time, they sold very well Coutinho because when you sell a player for this amount of money, and then you have the rest of money to invest, to improve your team. But I have great respect for the other teams, from the other managers, because behind every operation there is a programme, is a plan and I have great respect for every manager, every team.”
Though this is what the manager of the west London outfit thinks, experts think a bit differently than what Conte has to say.
However, one fact that is surely known by all is that opinions will keep coming and going and all that matters at the end are the results and title wins.
Despite Chelsea’s unsuccessful attempt for Van Dijk, their defensive record have still been stood strong this season and they have conceded the second least goals of any team in the top flight.
Only the leaders Manchester City have let in fewer goals, who are 16 points ahead of them and it seems that the Citizens are the favorites to win the league this term, unless something really dramatic happens in 2018.
Pep Guardiola’s side has been the “dominant force” in the top flight of English football and are running away with the league title, so it seems at present.
Hopefully, the Blues or Reds can really make some kind of impact, with the Merseyside outfit all set to face off against the Manchester based side this weekend.