News has broken that Liverpool has won the race for Southampton‘s Virgil van Dijk. The Telegraph reports the two sides agreed to a £75 million deal today, a world record for a defender. Liverpool was interested in the summer in a then £60 million deal. However, no formal bid was ever made, before Southampton submitted a complaint to the Premier League.
Following a stop-start opening to the season for both van Dijk and Liverpool’s back line, the addition of the Dutch defender should help. Liverpool have only conceded 3 goals at home all season. But the 20 conceded away from home are a worry for Jurgen Klopp. A strong ball player, with the physical talents to recover in Klopp’s high-pressure system, van Dijk has been the Red’s number one target for quite some time. Personal terms are expected to come in at the £180,000 mark. Liverpool have since confirmed the deal.
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
Liverpool Win Race for Virgin van Dijk
Liverpool’s pursuit of van Dijk in the summer was a public one. Amidst interest from Chelsea and Manchester City, it seemed like van Dijk always preferred Liverpool. With the two clubs ready to agree on a fee, news leaked of the impending move. Southampton filed a complaint with the Premier League, and Liverpool publicly withdrew. As such Liverpool never actually submitted a formal offer. With the January window fast approaching, it is reported in the same Telegraph exclusive that the two clubs reached an agreement on the transfer fee today.
Addressing Liverpool’s Back Line
While Liverpool were demolishing Swansea 5-0 in a boxing day rout, it did little to quell the discomfort with Liverpool’s back line. Matip was an improvement this summer. But Klavan and Lovren repeatedly show their inability to perform consistently. However, van Dijk would go a long way to addressing this issue. A terrific passer of the ball and a strong defender, van Dijk immediately improves an ailing defensive unit. His ball playing ability fits with Klopp’s mould. In addition, he steadies many of the criticisms placed against Dejan Lovren. Physically dominant, quick to recover, concise in the tackle; it is easy to see why the Sliding Dutchman was Klopp’s number one target.
This season might be a step too far for Liverpool, as Manchester City run rampant. But given an improving defense, with the pending arrival of Naby Keita, Liverpool might be a real title challenger next season. They already have the rip roaring triumvirate of Coutinho, Firmino and Salah. Adding one of the most interesting midfield pieces in the Bundesliga in Keita, and a potentially elite center back in van Dijk is a big step for the club. Klopp’s project is increasing in allure for new players, and Liverpool may be headed for a new golden era.
Main Image Credit: