Southampton: Virgil van Dijk transfer saga left 'cloud' over club, says Ralph Krueger

Virgil van Dijk is yet to make his Liverpool debut since his £75m move
Virgil van Dijk handed in a transfer request following initial interest from Liverpool

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger says Virgil van Dijk's protracted move to Liverpool left "a cloud" over the club for the first half of the season.

The defender completed a world record £75m move to Anfield on 1 January, but Liverpool's original interest prompted a transfer request by him last summer.

"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."

Krueger gave his backing to Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino despite the Argentine only managing four wins from his opening 21 Premier League matches in charge.

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

"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."

Saints are just two points above the relegation zone before the home game with Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino
Mauricio Pellegrino saw his Southampton side hold Manchester United to a goalless draw on Saturday

Pellegrino, appointed in June following the sacking of Claude Puel after just one season in charge, has struggled to make an initial impression in the job in terms of playing style and results.

"We believe we can climb back up the table with the group we have," Krueger added. "We're a club on a long-term plan.

"From the get-go, Mauricio has completely embraced the way we operate here. The transfer that has just gone through is the end of a very difficult phase for the club.

"We feel we have a superb group of players at the club and that we're well poised to attack the second half of the season."

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