Just when it looked as though Liverpool were on the verge of completing a deal with Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk, they have been dealt a potentially major blow.
On Monday, reports suggested that the Dutchman had picked the Reds over Manchester City and Chelsea and was close to becoming the world’s most expensive defender.
All that was left was for Liverpool to strike a deal with Southampton.
However, the deal took a dramatic turn for the worse on Tuesday with news that Southampton had reported Liverpool to the Premier League.
The Saints are angry with the way Liverpool have conducted their business without speaking to them and claim they have illegal ‘tapped up’ Van Dijk.
Why Southampton have reported Liverpool
The South Coast club have accused them of an “illegal approach” of Van Dijk and are angry because they haven’t received any contact from Liverpool over the defender.
The local paper in Southampton, the Daily Echo, suggested that Saints bosses have been “infuriated” by the reports that Van Dijk had agreed to come to Anfield.
They believe that the suggestion one of the reasons Van Dijk wants to join Liverpool was because of Jurgen Klopp’s involvement prove that an illegal approach has been made.
The punishment Liverpool can expect
So what does that mean for Liverpool and their chances of signing their man?
And what will happen if they’re found guilty?
Well, ESPN’s Alex Shaw revealed the punishment the Merseyside club are likely to revive if a previous case if anything to go by.
Chelsea were found guilty of illegally tapping up Arsenal’s Ashley Cole in 2005 and were duly punished.
They received a £300,000 fine and a suspended three-point deduction - meaning they weren’t actually deducted three points but would be if they were found guilty of a similar offence.
Cole was also fined £100,000, and then Chelsea boss had to pay £200,000.
While every case is different, Liverpool can look towards this scenario as a good indicator of what they can expect.
But will their academy ban play a role?
In April, they were slapped with a two-year sanction preventing them from signing Academy players from other English clubs after making an illegal approach to sign a 12-year-old from Stoke City.
The second year of that is currently suspended but, if they are found guilty of tapping-up up Van Dijk, there could be a chance of that being sanctioned.
Liverpool now face a nervy wait to discover whether they will be found of any wrongdoing in their pursuit of Van Dijk.
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