Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk will move to Anfield for £75m on January 1…
Liverpool FC have successfully concluded their protracted chase of Dutch international centre-back Virgil van Dijk.
Six months on from being forced to withdraw their initial interest, amid threats of sanctions following an illegal approach, the Reds and van Dijk’s present employers, Southampton, have finally reached a binding agreement for the player’s transfer to Merseyside.
Both sides confirmed the development on Wednesday, with Liverpool saying via their official website: “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 fee, as reported by BBC Sport amongst others, is £75million, which makes the defender Liverpool’s record signing and also the world’s most expensive defender.
According to the Liverpool ECHO, a medical was hastily undertaken on Wednesday morning as Jürgen Klopp‘s side moved quickly to ward off interest from Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Van Dijk’s previous employers, Celtic, from whom Southampton acquired van Dijk for just £13million, are due 10% of the fee.
The move brings to an end the player’s two-and-a-half year stay at St Mary’s where he made 80 appearances and scored seven goals.
Speaking via social media after the news broke, van Dijk remarked: “Delighted and honoured 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’t 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.”
Van Dijk, who is set to earn £180k-per-week and wear the No.4 shirt at Anfield, is eligible for both Champions League and FA Cup matches for his new side.
However, despite officially becoming a Red on New Year’s Day, he won’t be allowed to face Burnley on the same day so his debut could come at home to Everton in the FA Cup third round on Friday, January 5.
The one-time Groningen man has won 16 caps for Holland since debuting in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Kazakhstan in October 2015.
Despite a number of clean sheets in recent months, results against the likes of Sevilla and Arsenal have proved that a soft underbelly still lurks inside Klopp’s Liverpool. Van Dijk was the man targeted to solve the problem previously and everyone connected with the club will be hopeful he proves to be worth the wait. The Dutchman will need to quickly recapture the form of previous seasons though after a difficult start to 2017/18 in which he has been in and out of the Saints side after injury and a period spent training on his own following the submission of a divisive transfer request over the summer.
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