The move Liverpool have made for Virgil Van Dijk has proven that lessons have been learned at Anfield and to their fans delight, the Reds have finally started acting like a big club in the transfer market.
To be honest to the Liverpool hierarchy, those in charge of transfers at Anfield have done a great job working on the Naby Keita’s deal in the summer. Instead of giving up on Keita or just delaying the negotiations for the summer of 2018, the Reds chose a much better approach and negotiated Keita’s transfer in principle by committing to meet RB Leipzig’s asking price.
During the summer, Liverpool annoyed Southampton by contacting Virgil Van Dijk directly, instead of acting appropriately and using a formal approach to sign the player. The Reds subsequently apologised and withdrew their interest in the player. Now, a few months on, Liverpool wasted no time and agreed the terms of the Van Dijk move even before the January transfer window opened.
With a transfer deal that will make history for being the world’s most expensive defensive acquisition, there are certain risks for the Reds as Van Dijk hasn’t enjoyed the best season so far in his Premier League career. The expected £75 million which Liverpool will pay to Southampton might not buy them a central defender who is ready to go immediately in the starting eleven. Van Dijk might need to adapt to the new environment and also may need to regain his form, something which made him one of the most wanted Premier League defenders in the summer of 2017.
Former Man United defender and current Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville commented about Van Dijk’s move. “He’s a good defender. They’ll need to get him back to his best for that money. I’m not surprised by the transfer but that’s an incredible amount of money.”
The consequences of Van Dijk’s transfer
There are two very important consequences of Van Dijk’s transfer which will help Liverpool a lot in their effort to return among the world’s best football teams.
The first one is that Liverpool’s hierarchy has clearly demonstrated to the fans and the football experts that they understand what has to be done to improve the Jürgen Klopp managed team. Virgil Van Dijk’s arrival is supposed to bring defensive stability to the Reds team and boost their chances for a successful season both in the Premier League and in the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
The second consequence of the transfer is that Liverpool have made Van Dijk the world’s most expensive defender, which sends a strong message to fans that FSG are determined to win trophies and aren’t just content to own and operate one of the biggest football clubs in the world and to leverage on its history and global support.
Liverpool currently have one of the most exciting attacking formations in the world of football, but it is not enough to win them trophies. By strengthening the defence, FSG has demonstrated that they have analysed Liverpool’s failure to win the league in the season of 2013/14 when the horrible defensive performances cancelled the efforts of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerard, who could have led the team to win the title.
By improving their defence, Liverpool can also hope to keep Philippe Coutinho and their best players in the club, not matter who would come for them next summer. The Reds have another chance in this decade to assemble a team who can fight for the title. Now it is all about Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool to prove that they are good enough to win trophies.