LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 19, 2020: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk should become world’s highest-paid defender with Liverpool set for talks

Liverpool are set for talks with Virgil van Dijk over a new contract this summer, and the Dutchman is likely to become the world’s highest-paid defender.

Van Dijk signed a five-year deal with the Reds on his move to Merseyside in 2018, with the club able to exercise the clause for a further year to tie him down until 2024.

But the approach to rewarding performances at Liverpool, and Van Dijk’s status as one of the best players in world football, should see the two parties in discussions over an extension at the end of the season.

This is the case with both the No. 4 and Alisson, who have played a key role in transformation Jurgen Klopp‘s defence from a porous Achilles’ heel to arguably their biggest strength.

And according to the Mirror‘s David Maddock, any new contract for Van Dijk “could make him the highest-paid defender in world football.”

He argues this due to the Reds’ increasingly positive financial position, after announcing pre-tax profits of £42 million for the 2018/19 financial year despite spending over £220 million on players in that period.

The likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have all been given significant pay rises in recent years, and Van Dijk should follow suit.

Van Dijk’s current wage is claimed to be around £125,000 a week, but this could feasibly rise closer to Salah’s reported £200,000-a-week earnings, with Firmino and Mane both believed to be on around £180,000 per week.

MADRID, SPAIN - SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk kisses the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 2-0 to win their sixth European Cup. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite the eye-watering figures, in relative terms it would be a justified salary for Van Dijk, given his undoubted importance to Liverpool.

It should be noted that Maddock’s assertion is largely based on previously revealed information and common sense, but it does highlight a likely development for the Reds and their third-choice captain.

Van Dijk is currently wearing the armband in the absence of Jordan Henderson and James Milner, and a year ago told the Football Daily podcast that he wants to be remembered as “a legend of Liverpool.”

“When you play for this club, you’ll always be welcome as you’ve been part of the family,” he continued.

“It’s one of the reasons I definitely wanted to play for the club.”

With the Reds set to win the Premier League title for the first time, and their first top-tier title since 1990, this season, Van Dijk is well on his way to reaching this status.