Virgil Van Dijk has told Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp he wants to join the club this summer.
The Anfield club will now attempt to negotiate a world-record deal for a defender with Southampton.
The 25-year old has rejected advances from Manchester City and Chelsea and believes the next phase of his career will best be served on Merseyside.
According to Paul Joyce at The Times, talks between the clubs are now set to take place with Liverpool ready to make Van Dijk the highest paid player at the club, earning around £200,000 a week, as well as smashing their transfer record.
The Dutch defender has been weighing up his options since the end of the season having become one of the most coveted players in the Premier League.
However, according to reports, despite the player’s intentions a deal is not close and will require some tough negotiating.
The news proves the deal hasn’t come down purely to money, and below we list some of the reasons why Van Dijk has chosen to opt for Merseyside as opposed to Manchester or London.
The chance to work with Jurgen Klopp
There is no doubt Klopp’s presence at Liverpool has been fundamental in shifting the momentum the Merseyside club’s way.
According to The Liverpool Echo, the former Borussia Dortmund manager’s enthusiasm and vision for Liverpool has left a huge impression on Van Dijk and his representatives.
The German wanted him more than anyone else, and he made that perfectly clear during this pitch to the 25-year-old.
He is believed to been a major factor in Van Dijk’s decision with qualification for the Champions League – providing the play-off in August is successfully navigated – also crucial in swaying the defender towards Merseyside.
The Liverpool fanbase
Reports earlier today suggested another reason Van Dijk has decided on Anfield is because he sees similarities between the passion of The Kop on a European night and that at his former club at Celtic Park.
Anfield is renowned for the atmosphere’s it generates on a European night, under the lights, and there are similarities between a night on Merseyside and a night in Glasgow.
This is remarkably refreshing to read in a modern day era where money and trophies seem to be the only two factors a player will consider before signing on the dotted line.
The Style of Play
Van Dijk has been Klopp’s priority transfer target for a far while now, and the club have always hoped they could attract the defender, particularly once they finished in the top four and could offer the potential of Champions League football.
Liverpool believe the style of football under Klopp, allied to the long-term potential of the side, would be a determining factor.
Finishing 4th on 76 points, the Reds were lauded for their style of play at times last season, hitting the back of the net 78 times, but conceding 42, the highest of any other club in the top four.
Should a deal get done, Van Dijk will be brought in to try and plug the gap, and bring Liverpool the sort of defensive stability and leader there have craved since the days of Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia.
Despite the player’s intentions a deal is not close and will require some tough negotiating, but this is a huge boost for Liverpool and one which hopefully doesn’t go unnoticed from the club’s other targets.
Written by Oliver Bond