According to John Barnes, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is desperate to sign Southampton centre-half Virgil Van Dijk this summer.
Liverpool signed Jöel Matip last summer and the Cameroonian, despite his injury hassles, has been a breath of fresh air at the back for the Reds. His central defensive partner Dejan Lovren is not as talented or error-free and Klopp is looking to bring in Virgil Van Dijk to partner Matip next season.
If John Barnes is to be believed, Klopp wants Van Dijk at all costs with money not being an issue.
Van Dijk has been reported as being valued at £50 million by Southampton and while that might be an obscene amount of money to pay for a centre-half, Liverpool can’t afford not to spend it.
“I’ve seen enough of him from when he was at Celtic to know that Van Dijk is a very talented defender. It would be great. He’s a quality player,” Barnes told the Liverpool Echo.
“I think Jürgen Klopp does like him and if he comes to Liverpool I think that would be a good signing.
“It doesn’t matter how much it takes. You can sign a good player for £5m or a good player for £50m. If that’s the market value, it’s the market value.
“I’m more interested in the qualities that a player could bring to the team rather than the transfer fee.
“Of course if it doesn’t work out then it’s a lot of money to spend on a failure. But whenever you sign a player there’s a risk.
“Paul Pogba was £90m. Has Pogba played like the best footballer in the world? No, but he’s a good player who can help Manchester United in the future.
“If it takes spending £50m to get Van Dijk and Klopp wants to do that and believes that’s the right deal for the club then I’d back him.”
Liverpool’s defensive issues are well-documented and stretch back years. This season, in particular, the Reds have been dire, conceding 42 goals in 34 games – three less than 19th Middlesbrough having played a game less than the Boro.
Signing a player of Van Dijk’s abilities would go a long way to helping Liverpool strengthen for the long term and allow Klopp to build a base capable of consistently challenging for silverware.