Liverpool Agrees to Record Deal for Virgil van Dijk
The January transfer window hasn’t yet opened, but that doesn’t mean deals have not yet been agreed upon. Liverpool announced on Wednesday that they have agreed on a transfer fee in order to acquire decorated Southampton centre back Virgil van Dijk. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed by the club, but The Telegraph reported that Liverpool will be sending £75 million to Southampton for the rights to the player.
The fee of £75 million is a record for a defender, and it is also the most Liverpool has ever shelled out for one player. Liverpool was reportedly extremely interested in securing van Dijk’s services over the summer, but a potential move was scuttled after rumors leaked to the press. Southampton was furious that Liverpool would allow the leaks to occur, and they refused to sell the Dutchman.
Van Dijk has played sparingly for the Saints so far this season, and speculation of a transfer grew once again when he was left out of the side ahead of their eventual 5-2 loss to Tottenham on Tuesday. Van Dijk has reportedly wanted to leave since the summer, and he’ll now get his wish.
Manchester City and Chelsea were among the other clubs reportedly vying for van Dijk, but he ultimately chose Liverpool, where he figures to get the most first-team action. With City or Chelsea, van Dijk may have been forced into a rotation role. With the Reds, he’ll get the chance to start on a regular basis, presumably alongside Joel Matip.
Van Dijk will officially join Liverpool when the transfer window opens on New Year’s Day.
Jurgen Klopp’s side boasts perhaps the most dangerous attack in all of Europe, but the Reds’ undoing typically comes in defense. Liverpool has allowed 23 goals in 20 Premier League matches thus far, which is tied for the most among the clubs currently in the top-6. They have scored 46 of their own, however, which ranks second in the league behind City’s whopping 60 strikes thus far.
The addition of van Dijk should help fortify things. He will presumably take the place of another former Southampton centre back, Dejan Lovren. Lovren has come under fire time and time again throughout his tumultuous Liverpool career, but he kept his regular starting spot thanks to a lack of a suitable alternative. With van Dijk now on board, Lovren will likely be relegated to a role as a squad rotation player rather than a regular starter.
Liverpool will face Leicester City on December 30, and van Dijk will be eligible to make his debut in a Reds shirt on January 1 when LFC are slated to take on Burnley at Turf Moor. Liverpool is currently 4th in the Premier League on 38 points, just 1 point ahead of Spurs and 3 points up on Arsenal.
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