Football

The Worrying Thing About Liverpool's Van Dijk Blunder, Is That It Happened Before

The Worrying Thing About Liverpool's Van Dijk Blunder, Is That It Happened Before

The well publicised news that Virgil Van Dijk will not be moving to Liverpool has seen a reaction of frustration and embarrassment from many of the club's fans, and fans of other clubs have been basking in the schadenfreude.

As Jamie Carragher pointed out on Twitter, the club needs to identify who made the costly error of feeding the story to the press before the wheels had officially been put in motion. That has to be the primary concern.

Clubs of other fans laughing matters absolutely nothing, clubs fail with transfer targets all the time, but the fact that this was a priority target who wanted to join the club ahead of their rivals has hurt some of the fan base. But you move on. Liverpool will sign another defender (they've already been linked with Stefan De Vrij today), likely not as ideal for the system as Van Dijk seemed to be, but almost certainly far less expensive, and the club will continue to sign players as the window develops.. But there is another issue here.

How was this allowed to happen again?

Liverpool botched the transfer of Clint Dempsey from Fulham in 2012 by reporting on positive talks with the player on their club website, which saw Brendan Rodgers openly discuss the idea before an agreement had been reached. The owner had to issue a peronal apology to Mohamed Al-Fayed and the club had to drop their interest in the player. Dempsey would go on to sign for Spurs in the same window. Here's an excerpt from a Telegraph article from Paul Kelso reporting it at the time.

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner offered a personal apology to Fulham owner Mohamed Fayed last Friday after it became clear that the Premier League was intent on pursuing the London club’s allegations.

Fulham complained after Liverpool’s website announced in late August that Dempsey had signed for the club, and published subsequent praise for the Texan from manager Brendan Rodgers. Fulham believe Liverpool’s actions unsettled Dempsey and prompted his deadline-day move to Tottenham.

...

In the letter Ayre acknowledged that Liverpool’s conduct was “wrong”, “should simply never have occurred”, and expressed “sincere regret and apology”.

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On that instance it was the club website, and the manager, who made the mistake of talking like the deal was done before it had even started, but that should have been used as an example that nothing is shared or discussed until both clubs involved are happy for it to be.

The fact that the lesson was not learned is the most worrying thing. How have measures not been put in place to make sure everybody knows that nobody says a word until the player is leaning against something at Melwood?

Carragher was absolutely correct to suggest that questions need to be asked inside the club to determine who did it, and who failed to remember what happened when it "absolutely should not have happened" five years ago.

It seems like the Dempsey situation had been forgotten by many fans and media, but there's no way it should have been forgotten by the club.

Mikey Traynor

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