Neil Lennon believes Liverpool target can become the world’s best defender.

Neil Lennon signed Van Dijk for only £2.6 million back in 2013 but according to the Liverpool Echo he believes the defender has the potential to become the best in the world.

Lennon signed Van Dijk from Eredivisie side Groningen, and during his time at Celtic the defender developed into a player capable of competing in the Premier League.

Throughout the past two years Van Dijk has become a key member of the Southampton squad, impressive many. His remarkable displays of football have seen him become Liverpool’s principal target for this summer and has also attracted the attention of many other top Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal.

READ MORE: Liverpool confident Virgil Van Dijk will snub Manchester City Chelsea favour Anfield

BURNLEY, ENGLAND – Saturday, January 14, 2017: Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk in action against Burnley during the FA Premier League match at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jürgen Klopp is looking to dramatically strengthen the Reds’ defence for the upcoming campaign and has been given the green light to splash out in order to sign the Southampton defender.

READ MORE: Liverpool prepared to smash their transfer record three times this summer

Lennon had nothing but praise for his former player, telling Sky Sports; “Can he be the world’s best? Yes.

“I think he could play for Barcelona, I think he could play for Real Madrid – it wouldn’t surprise me if he took his career on to those pathways.

“The first day he came into Celtic I pulled him to one side after training and said ‘you enjoy yourself here because you’re not going to be here long.

“I couldn’t believe we got him for £2m. He was outstanding. I couldn’t believe that none of the big clubs took a bite at him before Southampton.”

Lennon feels his former centre-back has all the attributes needed in a world-class defender, and admitted his surprise that Van Dijk hasn’t already made a move to a European powerhouse.

“I believe he could play at any club side in Europe now – he’s that good,” added Lennon. “He’s only 24, he’s got 10 years in him.

“He has got everything you want from a modern-day centre-half: he’s powerful, he’s quick, technically brilliant, he reads the game well, superb in the air.

“So it doesn’t surprise me that the big clubs are coming in now – it’s just surprising that they have waited so long.”

Although the 25-year-old has been out of action since January with an ankle injury he remains a top priority for Liverpool this summer.

READ MORE: Scout Report: Virgil Van Dijk

Written by Izzy Baldwin

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