On Wednesday evening Fenway Sports Group caught the Liverpool collective fanbase completely off-guard as the news that we had signed Virgil van Dijk began to spread. The price tag attached to the much-talked about (and coveted by Premier League managers) centre back has been the leading topic of all and sundry of the varied Premier League fanbase.
As a right footed central defender, Virgil has usually been seen playing at left centre back but can also play as a right sided centre back.
Virgil van Dijk turned 26 on 8 July this year and was born in Breda, Netherlands. He began his youth career in 2009 for Willem II and transferred to FC Groningen after one season, making his professional debut for the club on 1 May 2011. During his time at Groningen, he scored seven goals in 62 appearances for the club.
Virgil signed for Celtic on 21 June 2013 for a reported fee of GBP 2.6 million (approximately USD 4 million in 2013) on a four-year contract which included a 10% selling-on fee to Groningen. VVD went on to make his Scottish debut on 17 August 2013 and was one of three Celtic players named in the PFA Scotland Team of the Year for the 2013-14 season with Celtic winning the league.
Van Dijk scored a total of nine goals in his 76 appearances for Celtic; four in 2013-14 and five in 2014-15.
He also achieved the following honours during his time in Scotland:
Scottish Premiership: 2013–14, 2014–15
Scottish League Cup: 2014–15
PFA Scotland Team of the Year: 2013–14
PFA Scotland Team of the Year: 2014–15
VVD’s Premier League era begins...
Virgil joined Southampton on a five-year contract on 1 September 2015 and made his debut for the Saints 12 days later against the Baggies in a match that ended in a goalless draw. His third appearance for the club marked his first goal in the Premier League – a header at 11 minutes against Swansea which would subsequently finish in a 3 – 1 Saints win.
7 May 2016 saw him sign a new six-year contract with Southampton after being named the Southampton Player of the Season for 2015–16.
After the departure of José Fonte, Virgil was named as the Saints Captain on 22 January 2017. That same day however, van Dijk suffered an ankle injury during a match against Leceister City which sadly ruled him out for the 2017 EFL Cup Final which unfortunately ended in a (lucky!) Manchester United win at Wembley stadium.
Van Dijk made his full international debut for Netherlands in their UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier on 10 October 2015, in a 2–1 victory away from home against Kazakhstan. He has made 16 international appearances at senior level.
In Jürgen Klopp’s own words
Quality, that's why we got him. I'm interested in him. It's difficult for the moment because he's technically still a player of Southampton, that's how it is. I have much more time and opportunities to talk about him. I can imagine people think, "wow what a number it is" but of course for me, it's not really interesting.
We don't make the prices, the market make the prices and the first thing all Liverpool supporters should forget quite soon is the price. We only talk about the player and what he can bring in and it's quality, it's mentality, it's character and all that stuff. That's why we are really happy about it.
It's a long-term thing. He's probably not had his best first half of the season in Southampton. He was injured for a long time and then we all know the things about what happened last summer. He's a tall player and they always need a bit longer (to recover), especially after nine months or so. He needs to get rhythm, all that stuff, but that's no problem. We have already quality here in this position, so we don't have to rush anything. He has to adapt to our style of play, of course, it's different, it's a completely different game, but we are 100 per cent sure he will do it. But we are very happy that it's finally done, but there is no rushing, we’ve felt for the last two years that we are always taking steps in the right direction. That's actually the job to do and what the owners and supporters are asking for.
Yes, each new player we bring in is another step and I think so far we have done really well in the transfer business. We never ignored that part of the business, but we also believe in building the team on the training pitch and through games. It's rather a good moment than a bad one, 100 per cent.
As of 1 January 2018, our new number four, Virgil van Dijk, will officially be a Liverpool player (finally!). Welcome to Liverpool FC, VVD. YNWA.