Ex-Liverpool striker John Aldridge has caused fan fury by suggesting that Virgil van Dijk should go on strike at Southampton if he wants to force through a move to Anfield.
Liverpool had looked on course to sign the Dutch defender earlier this summer, but officially withdrew their interest after the Saints made a public complaint about tapping up.
Despite this, Aldridge – who helped Liverpool win their 17th league title in 1988 – believes the move can still go ahead if the player takes industrial action.
Aldridge was quoted by The Mirror as saying: “Players and their agents hold all the power these days and if he says he won’t kick another ball for Southampton and demands a move, it will happen.”
He added: “Tapping up goes on all the time in the game and even if Liverpool went a bit far in their pursuit of Van Dijk before they spoke to Southampton, I don’t believe this transfer story is dead in the water.
“Van Dijk needs to make the next move and I reckon he will tell Southampton that he wants out and he wants to go to Liverpool.
“I don’t like the way the game has gone in some ways and players can hold clubs to ransom if they want a move and big money offers are coming in, but that is the way of the world now.
“I still see this transfer happening one way or the other and I certainly hope it does because I’d like to have seen a little more movement from Liverpool in the transfer market this summer.”
Aldridge has received an angry backlash over his comments.
Many fans took to Twitter to throw a number of offensive insults at the 58-year-old.
@LFC should publicly hang John Aldridge out to dry and quickly distance themselves from his comments re VVD
— Lindzell (@Lindzell_LFC) June 22, 2017
Always seen Aldridge as a poor mans Ian Rush !! And by encouraging VVD to go on strike at saints shows what a total dick he is … #noclass
— Glen H ? (@Glen_WHU64) June 22, 2017
— John Haswell (@JohnnyHaswell) June 22, 2017
If further clarity was needed that John Aldridge is a cunt.
You’ve got it.
— COYB (@notbitterbetter) June 22, 2017
Not all fans chose to express their disgust through swears and slurs.
A lot of people also pointed out that Aldridge’s recent comments made him look like a hypocrite.
Aldridge’s tune was very different in 2011, after Fernando Torres completed his club-record transfer from Liverpool to Chelsea.
Back then Aldridge told the Daily Mail that “Torres is simply a mercenary who has gone for a huge pay rise.
“Liverpool fans stuck by him this season. They made excuses for his poor performances, about his injuries still affecting him. But all the time Torres appeared to be taking the club and the fans for a ride.
“Once he had put in a transfer request Liverpool were right to let him go. There’s no point keeping someone who doesn’t want to be there. My five-year-old grandson refused to put his Torres shirt on over the weekend because even he was disgusted with him.
“The timing of his decision to demand a move was terrible.”
Remember when Aldridge was fuming over Torres leaving for Chelsea? Can't have it both ways Aldo.
— WAZ (@Waz612) June 22, 2017
this is really embarrassing from John Aldridge. Suarez/Torres etc. were the worst people in the world when they tried this, @realaldo474
— John Walsh (@Curlygus) June 22, 2017