Southampton wasn’t expected to make a deadline day splash and they most certainly weren’t expected to still have Virgil van Dijk at the club —
... if you asked Liverpool fans that is. Alas, when dawn breaks on Friday the 26-year-old will still be at Southampton like Les Reed said all along.
It turns out, however, that Matt Targett came the closest to exiting St Mary’s only for his loan to Newcastle to fall through. The deal hit a snag when Targett wanted a six month deal as opposed to a season-long, which the Magpies were targeting, according to Sky Sports.
Understand Matt Targett wanted a 6 month loan but Newcastle wanted him for the season. That's where the talks broke down.— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) August 31, 2017
That was as noisy at it got for Southampton on what was a bang on average Thursday.
Cedric Soares confirmed his status at the club ahead of deadline day, stating, “I have a contract and I am doing my best here. I am always professional and I am happy”, which dampened Chelsea’s hopes of bringing him to Stamford Bridge.
Southampton’s summer business, meanwhile, consisted of three signings, including Jan Bednarek, Mario Lemina and Wesley Hoedt. In total, Saints spent roughly £35.4 million whilst Paulo Gazzaniga’s high-profile transfer to Tottenham came as the lone blow to the squad.
Jay Rodriguez also left for pastures new at West Brom and Southampton youth product Jason McCarthy was sold to Barnsley having made just one first-team appearance.
Despite the productive summer moves to add depth in central midfield, everything will come back to van Dijk.
Southampton sent a message years in the making and finally stood up to Liverpool, even getting a public apology for an illegal approach on the defender, but with glaring problems still evident in attack, will Southampton’s muscle towards their rival be all they have to show?
Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino enters September with nearly the exact same squad that saw Claude Puel fired after just one season. To avoid the same fate he’ll need to ignite his forwards, which has proven a formidable task.
But give credit where credit is due this deadline day. Reed gave us his word and kept it.