Former journalist, Ian McGarry claims ​Southampton's Virgil van Dijk will be a Liverpool player by Thursday - despite the Saints stance that the Dutch centre-back is not for sale this summer. 

Liverpool's ambitions to sign van Dijk are no secret, but despite apologising to the Saints for their conduct and subsequently retracting their interest earlier in the transfer window, McGarry is seemingly of the belief that it is only a matter of time before the 26-year-old is unveiled as a Liverpool player. 

Although Southampton are insisting that their star player is not for sale, McGarry believes otherwise as speaking on the Transfer Window Podcast, via the Daily Star, he said: “The whole thing of Van Dijk not for sale is a holding tactic.

Southampton v Liverpool - Premier League

“1) To get more money for the player out of the buying club, in this case Liverpool and 2) waiting until confirming a replacement to take over from Van Dijk.

"By this time next week [Thursday] Van Dijk will already be given a squad number by Liverpool and that’s where he’ll be playing his football this season.

“Van Dijk has seen himself in the red jersey of Liverpool. In my experience if they’ve already in their minds moved club, then they would rather go to that club than another. It would take an awful lot of money in terms of a contractual offer to assuage Van Dijk away from Liverpool and instead to Chelsea.

Whilst former Celtic midfielder John Collins claims van Dijk's agent has not done his client any favours, as he told talkSPORT, via the Daily Star: "Virgil van Dijk, I know Virgil very well.

“He’s a good boy but I don’t know why he signed this six-year extension last year (at Southampton) to be perfectly honest.

“When you sign an extension six months earlier, unless your agent has got a buyout clause put in it and a buying club makes it, then his agent’s not done a good job for him,” he added.