Liverpool continued their trend of raiding Southampton for players as the five-time European champions announced they had signed Saints defender Virgil van Dijk for a staggering sum of £75 million.
“Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk,” the club stated.
The Reds had been pursuing the 6’4 centre-back in the summer, so much so that the club had been forced to apologise for their attempts to lure the Dutchman away from Southampton.
Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 27, 2017
The 26-year-old had effectively downed tools in a bid to force a move but the transfer deadline passed and he remained a Southampton player, much to the chagrin of Jurgen Klopp, who is said to be a big admirer of the defender.
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Klopp clearly wanted the hulking centre-back and is said to be the main reason why the Reds shattered the world transfer record for a defender, previously held by Benjamin Mendy after his £52m transfer from AS Monaco to Manchester City in July 2017.
“The Reds have agreed a deal with the south coast club, and the player himself, that will see the 26-year-old defender move to Anfield when the transfer window re-opens on January 1, 2018. The Netherlands international will be assigned squad number four, upon his arrival at Liverpool,” the statement continued.
Liverpool’s defensive record has been poor this season, with the Reds conceding 23 goals in 20 games, struggling to keep clean-sheets and van Djik is seen as an ideal signing, even if he comes six months later than initially intended.
The 26-year-old van Dijk, who signed for Southampton in 2015 from Scottish side Celtic, made just 12 Premier League appearances this season for Manuel Pellegrino’s men. His last game was a 1-4 defeat at the hands of Leicester City on December 13. With the January transfer window nearing, Van Dijk was kept out of matchday squads to suggest a move to Liverpool or Manchester City was on the cards and it seems the Reds have finally got their man, albeit for a considerable chunk of change.
Considering the fact that Dejan Lovren, coincidentally another former Southampton player, has failed to make the grade at Liverpool, van Dijk is expected to start alongside Joel Matip as the first-choice central defensive pairing at Anfield.
With his transfer set to get officially completed on January 1, 2018, van Djik will be contention to start their FA Cup tie with Merseyside rivals Everton on January 5. Since he is ineligible to play till then, van Dijk is expected to miss the Reds’ clashes against Leicester City (December 30) and Burnley (January 1).