Jurgen Klopp had interest in Virgil van Dijk extended ahead of Liverpool have been convinced adequate to make him a globe-record signing, Gini Wijnaldum has revealed.
Van Dijk became the most high priced defender in football when he produced the £75 million move from Southampton in 2018, even though this has now been eclipsed by Harry Maguire’s £80 million switch to Man United.
By the get started of final year, the Dutchman had currently established himself amongst one particular of the finest defensive talents in England, but he has proved himself additional now.
Triumph in the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award final month highlighted the distinction in which he is now regarded as, but two-and-a-half years ago, he was nonetheless operating his way up at St Mary’s.
Klopp, nonetheless, currently had Van Dijk on his radar at least as far back as 2016, with Wijnaldum explaining that they had discussed his countryman for the duration of talks ahead of his personal transfer to Liverpool from Newcastle.
Wijnaldum was convinced then, and is even a lot more so now, telling reporters on duty with the Netherlands this month that “nothing about him surprises me any a lot more.”
“Before I even joined Liverpool I had a meeting with Jurgen and for the duration of our talks he asked me about Virgil van Dijk,” the No. five mentioned.
“I had generally rated Virgil extremely very and my precise words to Jurgen have been ‘he is going to make the defence a lot better’.
“So I was not shocked when Virgil won the UEFA Very best Player award ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. I really anticipated him to win it.
“Virgil has had a blinder of a season and has been so effective. Practically nothing about him surprises me any a lot more.”
This is, of course, to be anticipated, as Liverpool have their targets mapped out years in advance as Michael Edwards operates on recruitment behind the scenes.
But it is exciting to note that the Reds have been thinking of a move following just one particular season with Southampton, with Van Dijk obtaining previously only turned out for Celtic and Groningen.
It shows the awareness of the club’s scouts to earmark the 28-year-old as a possible leader at the back prior to his emergence as a really top rated-level defender.
Meanwhile, claims of a new six-year contract for Van Dijk on Sunday have been quashed by the Liverpool Echo‘s Paul Gorst, who writes that the centre-back is “bemused” by reports in the Mirror.