Liverpool not put off by Virgil van Dijk price tag, prepared to break transfer record

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Liverpool are said to be willing to meet Southampton’s £50 million valuation for Virgil van Dijk, making the centre-back their record signing.

Van Dijk has emerged as a priority target for Jurgen Klopp ahead of the summer transfer window, as he looks to strengthen his defence once again.

Despite signing Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan before 2016/17, injuries and inconsistent form have prompted the German to seek a new leading centre-back.

And according to the Liverpool Echo, not only is Van Dijk his ideal candidate, but he is prepared to sanction a significant bid for the 25-year-old.

Prior to picking up an ankle injury in January, Van Dijk had been in exceptional form this season, underlining his status as one of Europe’s finest defensive talents.

This has reportedly seen him garner interest from Chelsea, Man City and Everton, too, with Liverpool facing a fight to convince him to make the move to Anfield.

To do so, they will need to make Southampton a £50 million offer, as well as ensure Van Dijk is “one of the club’s highest wage earners.”

Furthermore, qualification for next season’s Champions League will be imperative in sealing Van Dijk’s signature.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 28, 2015: Southampton's Virgil Van Dijk in action against Manchester City during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Van Dijk is the blockbuster defensive signing supporters have routinely called for, and as such the financial impact of his arrival would be massive.

His transfer fee would eclipse that of Sadio Mane, Christian Benteke and Andy Carroll, and would match the world record for a defender, set by Paris Saint-Germain in signing David Luiz in 2014.

But he would certainly be worth the outlay, providing Matip with a proven, long-term partner at the back and giving Liverpool the top-level centre-back they require.

Beyond injuries, Klopp’s problems as Reds manager so far have regularly stemmed from defensive issues, as was evidently clear in the 2-1 loss at home to Crystal Palace.

Van Dijk would go a considerable length to solve that, with the Netherlands international a supreme physical defender, a composed ball-player and, crucially, a strong organisational presence.

His desire to play in the Champions League, however, remains a worrying caveat, given the Reds are not in the clear just yet.

Liverpool have four games left to play, against Watford, Southampton, West Ham and Middlesbrough, and success between now and May will be hugely influential ahead of the summer.

Fail to reach the top four, and Klopp could be forced to overlook his top targets.

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