Liverpool broke the world record transfer fee for a defender last night after they finally completed the deal to bring Virgil van Dijk to Anfield from Southampton. The fact that they had been courting the Dutch international for some time is obviously no secret and it took £75m for this year’s longest running transfer saga to finally come to an end.
For the Saints it is more frustration that the Liverpool scouts have forget their passports once again and only managed to reach the South Coast in their search for players but for Van Dijk’s new suitors it is nothing short of jubilation as they finally get the man they have not just wanted for some time but also needed.
This was no less evident last Friday when Liverpool were almost home and hosed against Arsenal after going into a comfortable 2-0 lead only to see them capitulate in a concerning short amount of time. A capitulation that saw them concede three goals in less than 500 seconds as the game was turned on its head.
The fact that they would eventually snatch a draw from the jaws of victory would have softened the blow slightly but ultimately it would have forced Jurgen Klopp into action and that was to make sure he was not caught in a bidding war in an attempt to acquire the services of the former Celtic defender.
If there was to be a bidding war then it would be Celtic who would profit the most as they inserted a 10% sell on clause when selling the player on to Southampton back in September 2015. As it stands the Glasgow giants will see their coffers swelled to the tune of £7.5m, a figure that will no doubt see them continue their dominance in Scotland.
There is also something of a stroke of good timing in Liverpool’s capture of Van Dijk. Manchester City once again had to witness the sight of Vincent Kompany limping off against Newcastle last night. If that fixture happens on Boxing Day then I would imagine Pep Guardiola tables a bid that blows Liverpool out of the water and it would be the Etihad instead of Anfield in which the defender would now call home.
But the butterfly effect was not a factor in completing this move and now the argument will be whether or not £75m is a worthwhile fee to pay for someone who has played nowhere near that valuation this season. The obvious rebuttal is that the player has had his head in the clouds after not getting the move he desired back in August.
Something which you would have to consider a fair point but if that is the case then he will have to get his head out of the clouds and hit the ground running for his new club. Ultimately the true value of this move can only be calculated in May, if Liverpool finish in the top four then it will be deemed money well spent.
If Liverpool fail to reach the Champions League next season then questions will be asked as to whether Liverpool have paid over the odds, regardless of price though his presence should strengthen what has at times been a very pourous backline. The caveat here being that he needs to start playing like someone befitting that of a world record fee, time will tell if that proves to be the case but fans of the Anfield outfit will be nothing short of delighted that they have received a late Christmas present.