John Cross writes for The Mirror that Liverpool are confident of pulling off a shock move for Virgil Van Dijk despite Chelsea believing they are in the lead to sign the Dutchman.
Antonio Conte believes Chelsea are in the lead to sign Van Dijk this summer and it has seemed that way for the last couple weeks. The Blues are reportedly looking to sign the former Celtic centre-half to bolster their backline with John Terry having retired.
Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City are locked in a battle to sign Van Dijk but Reds’ fans will be relieved to hear that the winds of fortune could be blowing in their favour.
Despite the fact that it seemed as though Chelsea had the advantage, John Cross reports that Liverpool have “a genuine chance of doing a deal because Van Dijk is attracted by the proposition of playing for Klopp.”
The report indicates that Klopp will tell Van Dijk that he has the potential to be a “Kop legend” and that there aren’t any other centre-halves that he wants. Sounds like a right old love story if you ask me.
As with any notable love story, this will not be plain sailing for Liverpool or Klopp. The hope is that with Champions League football, Van Dijk can be attracted to Anfield.
Out of the four clubs to sound out Van Dijk’s advisers, Liverpool and Arsenal are prepared to pay the defender £200,000 a week.
Chelsea are said to be “desperate“ to sign Van Dijk but with Liverpool set to offer genuinely stern competition, there is no telling who will get their man.
With John Cross claiming that Klopp wants Van Dijk as his defensive lynchpin, it’s clear how highly he rates the Dutchman. With pace, power and a fair amount of skill for a centre-half, the Southampton man would take Liverpool’s backline to a new level.
It was clear whenever Jöel Matip and Dejan Lovren were partnered together that there was the beginning of something solid there. Without offence to the Croatian defender, the number of wins Liverpool racked up in their games together had more to do with the quiet but definite brilliance of Matip than it did with Lovren’s occasional defensive nuance.
A central defensive partnership of Matip and Van Dijk next season would be impressive. Those two flanked by the ever-dependable Nathaniel Clyne and a new left back in front of an in-form, shithouse version of Simon Mignolet would be drastically different from what has been on show for years at Anfield.
Liverpool’s main priority this summer is to ensure that next season is one where the Reds don’t suffer because of poor defence. The way this can be done is by signing Van Dijk and bringing in a new left-back.
Signing RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita would also be a step in the right direction as the Guinean would add more cover in midfield and allow the back four to be shielded from constant attack which wasn’t the case last season.