Liverpool have smashed the world record transfer fee for a defender by finally completing the £75million signing of Virgil Van Dijk.
He will officially become a Liverpool player on January 1. Van Dijk underwent a medical on the South Coast on Wednesday, with Southampton’s consent, after the two clubs agreed a fee. He has signed a contract worth more than £180,000 per week that runs until June 2023.
Liverpool have landed a player who will be eligible for the Champions League in the second half of the season, he could even make his debut against Everton in the FA Cup third-round tie next Friday. Van Dijk has been given the No 4 shirt.
Liverpool have been linked with the Holland international since early in the summer, but that move fell through after Liverpool were forced to withdraw their interest in June after Southampton threatened to report them to the Premier League for an illegal approach.
That incident left Liverpool red faced but 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.
The two clubs have done significant business since the summer of 2014 and 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.
Van Dijk says 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 would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to (Technical Director) Les Reed, the board, manager, players and fans and everyone at Southampton. I will always be indebted to the club for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League and 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. Thank you for all the messages of support. I’m now looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting started.’