On Sunday, an English newspaper decided to push a claim of Barcelona interest in Virgil van Dijk. The Southampton defender was on Barca’s list, being watched, and the Catalan club were set to provide competition to Liverpool.
For an English audience with little knowledge of Barcelona it was a good story. Liverpool and Barca could have another tussle, and Southampton had the chance to potentially annoy their Anfield counterparts by selling Van Dijk to the Catalan club for €60m.
Lots of clicks, countless articles inspired and linking back: Bingo.
However, it was clearly nonsense from the off, as we explained on Sunday in a series of tweets.
The rumour seems very much for an English audience, with the Barca audience obviously more clued up about all of that.
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) October 15, 2017
Catalan newspaper sometimes rubbish stories of Barcelona interest in players, but not too often, as they’d rather report it themselves and get the associated gains.
Despite that, Mundo Deportivo have wasted little time, and not many column inches, in rubbishing the idea Barcelona will provide Liverpool competition for Van Dijk.
Barcelona’s ‘technical’ reports have ruled Van Dijk out, and he’s ‘not an option’. That’s before a potential price-tag of around €60m is mentioned, never-mind competing with Premier League wages.
For now, this remains a Liverpool and Southampton fight.