Van Dijk transfer saga created negative and fragile environment at Southampton

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger claims the Virgil van Dijk transfer saga created a negative and fragile environment at St Mary's.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk   -  Twitter (@LFC)

Virgil van Dijk's protracted move to Liverpool left Southampton "off balance" and under a "cloud", according to Saints chairman Ralph Krueger.

READ: Van Dijk delight over 'perfect' Reds switch

Van Dijk had been the subject of Liverpool's interest ahead of the 2017-18 season with Southampton reporting the Reds for making an illegal approach.

That forced Liverpool into an apology, Jurgen Klopp's side withdrawing its interest despite Van Dijk handing in a transfer request to force the move.

Southampton dug its heels in and refused to sell the Netherlands international but it left both club and player in limbo - Van Dijk left out at certain times by Mauricio Pellegrino and limited to just 12 Premier League appearances.

A move to Anfield finally materialised, the 26-year-old completing his move to Liverpool for a club record £75million on January 1.

Krueger is pleased the saga is now over, but admitted it had taken its toll on Southampton in the latter months of 2017.

"Emotionally, it threw us off balance and financially it was a huge business risk," Krueger told BBC Radio Solent. "To make a stand and principle like that creates an earthquake.

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"In no way shape or form am I angry at any one individual for what has happened here in the past months.

"It was under the shadow of a stand and principle. That chapter closes now. The cloud was there, we allowed a certain negativity into our very fragile environment, which is based on positivity, creativity, unity and looking at solutions.

"I believe we can truly get back to that now."

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