Liverpool looked in pole position to follow the well tested route of signing a Southampton star during the upcoming transfer window, potentially breaking their transfer record in the process.
Several firms stopped taking bets from punters on the possibility of Virgil Van Dijk following the likes of Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne to Anfield, but Saints were clearly not happy with the way the Reds were going about their pursuit of the 25-year-old centre back.
A complaint over Liverpool's conduct has prompted Jurgen Klopp's side to publically withdraw their interest in the player and apologise.
“We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk. We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player,” the statement read.
Betfair are now going 8/11 (1.73) that Van Dijk makes a summer move to Manchester City, whose defensive issues last season will surely prompt Pep Guardiola to spend big on his backline over the coming weeks.
Rated at around £60 million, there are few clubs who could consider making an approach for the Netherlands international and it's 17/10 (2.70) that he remains at Southampton this summer. He has a contract at St Mary's that runs until 2022 and Saints are clearly intent on making any potential suitors pay a substantial price to acquire his services.
Liverpool are still available at 10/3 (4.33) to land their man, but that would be quite a serious of U-turns given the very public way in which they announced they were no longer interested.
Chelsea are priced at 4/1 (5.0) amid rumours that Antonio Conte is considering making a move for the centre-back. A move to either Stamford Bridge or the Etihad would likely mean higher wages for the player than his proposed move to Liverpool on top of the Champions League football that he craves.
While the deal looked all-but in some quarters before this dramatic turnaround, the saga of where Virgil Van Dijk plays his football next season could be set to rumble on for a while yet.