After months of speculation, Jurgen Klopp has finally secured his priority defensive target as he landed centre-back, Virgil van Dijk ahead of the league leaders
A statement on the club’s website read:
“Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk.
“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.”
Liverpool had to break the world record for a defender by ousting Manchester City to wrap up the signing in a £75 million deal.
The centre-back, who has remained Jurgen Klopp’s priority target since the summer and opted to move to Anfield back then as well, will officially join Liverpool on January 1.
Negotiations speedily progressed between the sides after a long process of the Reds repairing the relationship with their counterparts following a tapping-up saga in June that drew a public apology and the Saints refusing to sanction his sale.
With the Netherlands international under-performing at St. Mary’s and seemingly going through the motions this season, Mauricio Pellegrino admitted that the club’s hardline stance may have not been the wisest action.
“We tried to do the best for the team,” he said this week. “The board decided to try to keep our best player at the club. This situation is a big learning curve for everybody and now we decide what is the best for the club.”
Van Dijk sat out Southampton’s last three matches and a fast resolution suited all parties.
He underwent a medical with Liverpool on Wednesday and beyond becoming the most expensive rearguard purchase in history, also represents their biggest outlay on a player.
Pep Guardiola had been confident of adding the 26-year-old to his high-flying squad when the winter window opened, but he rejected City’s pursuit for a second occasion.