Liverpool’s pursuit of Virgil Van Dijk hit a massive low in summer when Southampton, the Dutchman’s former suitors, reported to FA for a alleged ‘tap up’ and the Reds ended up with an official club statement asking for apology to avoid any punishment.
Jurgen Klopp, the Reds boss, was patient though and didn’t opt for an alternative option to fix up the defensive frailty. He waited for a few months instead and the long-awaited deal finally got revealed a couple of days back as Liverpool acquired their prime transfer target for a club record fee of £75 mil and make him the costliest centre-back of the football world.
Although there are discussions going on regarding the amount Liverpool paid for the Dutch international, Klopp is not at all sceptic and believes Van Dijk is the solution of their defensive vulnerability.
The 6 ft 4 in tall former Celtic centre-back has ignored interests from the heavyweights like Manchester City and Chelsea in order to play under Jurgen Klopp. The charismatic German gaffer too stayed loyal to his keen admirer and struck the deal midway of the campaign. It’s too early to predict whether Van Dijk is the right man to sort out Liverpool’s defensive woes, but he will definitely add up more quality and stability in a fragile backline. He alongside Joel Matip will bring in aerial supremacy and the Reds are expected to be more disciplined while defending set-pieces.
Van Dijk holds the leadership traits too that the Merseysiders were lacking since long. Dejan Lovren, another ex-Southampton centre-back, has been erroneous and seems to have lost his first-team status finally following the Dutchman’s arrival. Ragnar Klavan, the other defensive option, has been a decent deputy and earned Klopp’s applauds in recent weeks. But the Estonian is 32 already and can’t be viewed as a first choice centre-back in the longer run.
The 26-year-old former Saints man thus fits the bill and is an ambitious move by Liverpool who are finally showing some strong intent in the transfer market to compete alongside the so called ‘sugar daddies’ of Premier League.