By Chris Williams for This Is Anfield
With Van Dijk originally being offered £180k per week, Liverpool are understood to have tried to restructure the deal late on, offering a basic wage of £130k per week, rising to £180k per week with add-ons.
Liverpool’s late stance has apparently angered Van Dijk’s representatives, and the Dutchman’s agents were not shy in letting the club know they were not the only suitors for his signature. Last night The Times reported that Manchester City were ready to offer the Dutch international the deal he favoured, at the level initially agreed at Liverpool – a straight £180k per week. This was no coincidence.
Liverpool is still Van Dijk’s preferred location, but the Reds’ late change of heart on the wage structure could throw the whole deal into doubt. Should the Reds fail to address the issue, City and Chelsea are waiting in the wings to capture Jurgen Klopp’s number one summer target.
This is not the first time that the structure of wages by the Anfield side could lead to a loss of a preferred target.
And, only recently as Monday this week Benjamin Mendy looked to be Anfield bound – once again wages became the stumbling block. The French left-back is now favourite to join City for around £42m.
The transfer fee was within Liverpool’s reach, however, Mendy’s agent was trying to secure a £150k a week deal for the Champions League semi-finalist – Liverpool looked to offer £80k with add-ons rising to £130k per week. City, meanwhile, wasted no time in offering the wages agent, Meissa N’Diaye, wanted for his client.
The Reds still appear to be favourite to acquire Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian winger looks close to agreeing a deal with the Reds.
The arrival of Salah would bolster the attacking options that hindered Klopp’s assault on the title in January.
However, it was the apparent poor structuring of wages which led to Salah joining Chelsea in 2014 when all the indications were that Liverpool had secured his services.
With Ryan Sessegnon also slipping through the fingers of Liverpool this week, another setback – this time being unable to secure the services of Van Dijk – would vastly reduce Liverpool’s options of fighting on four fronts in the coming season.
With the draw for Liverpool’s vital Champions League qualifier only eight weeks away, Klopp will be keen to secure the services of his top targets in time for preseason training and the friendly games in Germany and Asia.
Van Dijk has been top of Liverpool’s wish list for some time and the Anfield club will hope that no lasting damage has been done in the very final stages of a possible agreement. With both Klopp and Van Dijk seemingly in agreement that Liverpool is his best destination, the following few hours could be critical in the Anfield club’s pursuit of this highly rated, and talented, defender.