27 Dec Liverpool land Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in world-record deal
Liverpool have struck a world-record deal to sign defender Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.
The Dutch centre-back will move to Anfield in a transfer that is understood to be worth £75million, the highest price ever paid for a defender.
Southampton announced: “Southampton Football Club can confirm it has reached an agreement with Liverpool over the transfer of Virgil van Dijk.
“Southampton have agreed a fee that will set a new world-record for a defender. The club wishes Virgil well in his future when the deal is completed on January 1st 2018.”
“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.”
Van Dijk’s transfer will eclipse the fee of £54m spent by Manchester City to sign England full-back Kyle Walker from Tottenham during the summer.
The Dutchman had been training on his own after handing in a transfer request at the start of August, before finally being has been reintegrated into the senior squad as he recovered from an ankle injury.
The 26-year-old had made it clear he wanted the club to take up the interest from Liverpool, who issued a public apology in June following suggestions of an improper approach for the centre-back.
Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger had always been adamant that Van Dijk was not for sale and said keeping the defender is ”the statement we need to make” as the south coast club looked to sustain their progress.
Van Dijk made his first appearance of the season under new Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino as a late substitute in the 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on September 16.
The former Celtic defender added in his Twitter post he would “always be indebted” to Southampton for giving him the chance of Premier League football.
“Despite a difficult last few months, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saints and have made friends for life at the club. Thank you for everything,” Van Dijk wrote.