Liverpool have smashed world record tansfer deal for a defender by completing the £75million signing of Virgil Van Dijk.
He will formally turn into a Liverpool player on January 1. Van Dijk underwent medical test on the South Coast on Wednesday, with Southampton’s blessings after the two clubs had strike a deal. He has signed an agreement worth more than £180,000 every week that keeps running until June 2023.
Liverpool have gotten a player who’s qualified to play in the Champions League in the second half of the season – he could even play his debut against Everton in the FA cup third-round tie next Friday. Van Dijk has been given the No 4 shirt.
The Holland international’s future had gone under intense scrutiny after he was told to train alone and left out of the Southampton’s squad for their matches against Tottenham and Huddersfield.
He has been a huge transfer target for several clubs in the Premier League, with league leader Manchester City particularly keen on getting his signature. Pep Guardiola was anxious to add him to his squad and City knew about the deal would be expensive. They had been in negotiation with Southampton.
City first sent a scouting team to watch Van Dijk in November 2016 – game in a 0-0 draw with Liverpool – and saw him as the long haul successor for Vincent Kompany, whose injury issues erupted afresh against Newcastle on Wednesday night.
But as it may be, his aspiration from early this mid year was to move to Anfield to work with Jurgen Klopp and that desire never faltered, despite the fact that Liverpool were initially forced to withdraw their interest in June after Southampton threatened to report them to the Premier League for an illegal approach.
That episode left Liverpool humiliated however Mike Gordon, the President of Fenway Sports Group, made concerted efforts to improve relations between the clubs and it got to the point where there was a possibility of him moving to Anfield on deadline day in August.
LIverpool and Southampton business since the summer of 2014 Van Dijk becomes the sixth player to swap St Mary’s for Anfield following Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane. The total for those transfers is £168.5million.
Southampton were adamant they would not sell Van Dijk back in the summer but the landscape has changed.
SOUTHAMPTON TO LIVERPOOL DEALS
Rickie Lambert – £4m – June 2014
Adam Lallana – £25m – July 2014
Dejan Lovren – £20m – July 2014
Nathaniel Clyne – £12.5m – July 2015
Sadio Mane – £30m – June 2016
Players to join Liverpool from Southampton since 2014.
Van Dijk is likely to say his goodbyes to Southampton’s squad on Thursday. He was given permission not to report to their Staplewood training ground on Wednesday so he could undergo a rigorous fitness test – he only played 16 times for the Saints this calendar year due to a serious ankle problem.
He is relishing the opportunity to get his career on Merseyside started and he posted a message on his Instagram, having been pictured at home with a Liverpool jersey, to express his joy.
‘Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool player,’ said Van Dijk. ‘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.
‘I also want to use this medium to say a big thank you to the (Technical Director) Les Reed, the board, chief, players and fans and everybody at Southampton. I will always be indebted to the club for giving me the chance to play in the Premier League and regardless of a troublesome most recent couple of months I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saints and have made friends for life at the club.
‘I want to say thank you for everything. Thank you for every one of you for your messages of support. I’m currently excited and looking forward to meet my new colleagues and.’ starting a new beginning