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John Barnes: Don’t Give Up On Van Dijk Just Yet

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The Reds legend thinks Liverpool should continue their pursuit of the Southampton defender, despite the £50 million asking price

Burnley v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

After months of frantic speculation that Liverpool were making Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk a top priority in the summer transfer window, that chatter took an abrupt downturn. Southampton’s valuation of the Netherlands defender at £50 million, combined with stiff competition from the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City, changed the narrative to create the impression that Liverpool were looking elsewhere.

Retired Liverpool midfielder John Barnes thinks giving up on van Dijk now would be a mistake.

“I’ve seen enough of him from when he was at Celtic to know that Van Dijk is a very talented defender. It would be great. He’s a quality player. I think Jurgen Klopp does like him and if he comes to Liverpool I think that would be a good signing. It doesn’t matter how much it takes. You can sign a good player for £5 million or a good player for £50 million. If that’s the market value, it’s the market value.”

Barnsey continued his line of thinking about transfer fees and how the hand-wringing over them is a bit much.

“I’m more interested in the qualities that a player could bring to the team rather than the transfer fee. Of course if it doesn’t work out then it’s a lot of money to spend on a failure. But whenever you sign a player there’s a risk. Paul Pogba was £90million. Has Pogba played like the best footballer in the world? No, but he’s a good player who can help Manchester United in the future. If it takes spending £50million to get Van Dijk and Klopp wants to do that and believes that’s the right deal for the club then I’d back him.”

He also said that, ultimately, it has to boil down to what Jurgen Klopp thinks is best for the team.

“It doesn’t matter whether I think we need a left winger, a centre midfielder, a full-back, a keeper or whatever, it’s about what the manager feels would improve the team. We have to trust Jurgen Klopp. He knows what is right in terms of implementing a strategy. Everyone has their own thoughts but I trust him to make the right decisions.”