Jurgen Klopp accused of 'illegal' meeting with Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is reported to have staged an unsanctioned meeting with Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk to discuss a possible £60m move to Anfield.
Widespread reports in UK newspaper have suggested Klopp have been in regular contact with Van Dijk in recent months, as the mystery around one of the big stories of the summer deepens.
Southampton have contacted the Football Association to express their concerns that Liverpool have been in touch with Van Dijk, even though they have not received any formal offers for a defender who has also been linked with moves to Manchester City and Chelsea this summer.
Now the story had taken on a fresh dimension, with Klopp thrust into the centre of the controversy amid rumours he met Van Dijk for transfer talks in Blackpool.
The reports state that Klopp then exchanged a series of text messages with Van Dijk before rumours emerged this week suggesting the Dutch international has decided to join Liverpool.
Other reports claim Van Dijk also staged a meeting with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte over a possible move to Stamford Bridge, with Southampton infuriated by the suggestion that their player and his agent have been staging transfer talks without their permission.
The stories in several newspapers are loaded with detail that suggest the meetings may well have taken place and if that if the case, it is hard to imagine Liverpool and Chelsea have risked the wrath of the FA by staging illegal meetings with the player.
Southampton's claim that no clubs have contact them with bids to sign Van Dijk are equally implausible, even though their player is just 12 months into a six-year contract.
It now seems inevitable that Van Dijk will make a move this summer, with the stories that have emerged in recent days a possible attempt by Southampton to impress their own club's supporters by standing up to the vultures circling around their latest star name.