It may be the deal that every Liverpool fan was hoping for in the winter transfer window, and it has come true. Yes, Virgil Van Dijk has joined Liverpool from Southampton for a world record £70m for a defender. Van Dijk will be joining Liverpool in January as soon as the transfer window opens but the Reds made the move official on their website.
Van Dijk was on Liverpool’s radar for quite some time now and Jurgen Klopp was keen on bringing in a solid centre-back after conceding silly goals in with his poor defense all season. But last summer, Liverpool made an illegal approach for the Dutch defender which caused them to publicly apologize to Southampton. Although Van Dijk handed in his transfer request to join the Reds, he was banished from the starting eleven at the south-coast club and was training alone.
Over the course of the summer, Liverpool managed to sign Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but Klopp was unable to bring in any defensive players to help the back-line. With injuries to Joel Matip, Alberto Moreno and Nathanial Clyne the Merseyside club look extremely short at the back. And just last week, Van Dijk was left out of the Saints squad when Southampton were beaten 5-2 by Tottenham Hotspur. And the Saints agreed to a £70m fee from Liverpool on Wednesday after accepting the insane bid from the Anfield outfit. Having arrived from Celtic for a fee of just £13m, Van Dijk signed for six years, the Saints would be extremely happy to let go of a player for a very high price who did not want to remain at the club.
However, Van Dijk’s signing for Liverpool will be immense as he was targeted over the past few seasons and the classy defender was quoted saying in a statement, “Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player. Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football.”
“I can not wait to pull on the famous red shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have to try and help this great club achieve something special in the years to come.”
“I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Les Reed, the board, manager, players, fans and everyone at Southampton.”
“I will always be indebted to the club for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League and despite a difficult last few months, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saints and have made friends for life at the club.”
The 26 year old is now the most expensive defender in the world after beating Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy from AS Monaco for £52m. But the former Celtic player will be joining Liverpool on January 1st and may not be able to play against Burnley on Monday as he needs to be registered as a Liverpool player. Van Dijk will get the jersey number 4, previously worn by Liverpool great Sami Hyypia.
How It Will Impact The Reds’ Season?
The Reds have been lacking proper defensive options, as they continue to struggle for consistency right through the season. Hopefully, with the signing of the Saints’ star for the new year, they can turn things around and make a name for themselves in the cup competitions that they are taking part in. The Dutch centre-back could be the difference maker in the days to follow, if he can fit into the Kop system soon.
The Reds are trying their best to win their first title under the German manager and if things work out for them as per plan, they might soon get what they want.