The Reds have seen their pursuit of the Dutch defender spark a tapping-up scandal, but a deal could still happen if the Southampton star wants out

Virgil van Dijk’s proposed move to Liverpool is not “dead in the water” as he can choose to force a transfer, says John Aldridge.

The Southampton defender has emerged as a top target for the Reds as they seek to bolster their ranks ahead of a return to Champions League competition.

Their pursuit to date has sparked a tapping-up scandal, with the Anfield outfit accused of making an illegal approach.

Why everybody wants Van Dijk

Aldridge, though, considers that to be part of modern football and believes a deal could still happen if Van Dijk decides he wants to make a big-money switch to Merseyside.

He told the Sunday World: “Players and their agents hold all the power these days and if he says he won’t kick another ball for Southampton and demands a move, it will happen.

“Tapping up goes on all the time in the game and even if Liverpool went a bit far in their pursuit of Van Dijk before they spoke to Southampton, I don’t believe this transfer story is dead in the water.

Virgil van Dijk John Aldridge transfer

“Van Dijk needs to make the next move and I reckon he will tell Southampton that he wants out and he wants to go to Liverpool.

“I don’t like the way the game has gone in some ways and players can hold clubs to ransom if they want a move and big money offers are coming in, but that is the way of the world now.

“I still see this transfer happening one way or the other and I certainly hope it does because I’d like to have seen a little more movement from Liverpool in the transfer market this summer.”

How Liverpool can line up with Salah

Liverpool are not the only side to have been linked with a move for Van Dijk, with the Netherlands international one of the most sought-after talents in the Premier League.

Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City have all been credited with holding an interest, as the top-flight heavyweights seek to bring proven quality into their ranks.