Over the course of the summer transfer window, it appeared certain that Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk would depart the south coast club.
The Dutchman has forged a reputation as one of the finest in the Premier League and the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea were hovering around the former Celtic man.
Jurgen Klopp was desperate to land him and even went a bit too far in his pursuit of him, with the German manager and the Reds having to publicly apologise for their illegal pursuit of the 25-year-old.
Liverpool tried until the very last to sign Van Dijk but when the window closed on August 31, he was still on the books at Southampton.
The Dutch international has been out since January with injury and his recovery was halted by his involvement in the transfer market.
Now, he is back and made his return to the pitch for Southampton's U23 side against Aston Villa on Monday night.
But, it was the stuff of nightmares for Van Dijk as he was torn to shreds by the Championship side's young guns, with the Saints actually losing 4-0.
Shockingly, the defender was arguably at fault for three of them, just have a look below at how rusty he looks.
1. DREADFUL POSITIONING
In the first instance, Van Dijk hopelessly tries to intercept the ball high up the pitch and when he is turned with ease, the space he left behind him is exploited, leading to an easy opening goal for the Villains.
2. LAZINESS PERSONIFIED
Now, it may only be a friendly, but the way Van Dijk stands off and allows the Villa man to thump the ball home with virtually no resistance is truly shocking.
3. STANDING OFF
For Villa's fourth goal, Van Dijk again stands so far off that the forward virtually has a free shot at goal. The likes of Jack Stephens and Wesley Hoedt will likely not be concerned about their place in the team if he keeps up this form.
We all know the Dutchman is a very capable defender, but if he performs like that again in the Premier League, his value will plummet.
Van Dijk is at a huge point in his career now where he simply has to start performing, particularly if he wants to seal a big move away in the future.
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