Liverpool have signed Virgil van Dijk from Southampton. The club have paid a world record fee for a defender to do so, correcting their major misstep of last summer and in the process putting to rest any cries that the club aren’t willing to do everything they can to back Jürgen Klopp and won’t spend what it takes to win.
Or, at the very least, it should. The club may not have the wherewithal to go toe-to-toe with Manchester City, but they have more money to throw around than nearly any other club—enough to compete on the wages and transfer fee front with the biggest clubs in the continent even if a few Premier League sides eclipse them.
Combined with astute scouting and top coaching, it’s maybe not the easiest path to success but it very much is a path to success, and following the signing of Mohamed Salah over the summer plus a deal to bring Naby Keïta to the club next year, it’s clear Fenway Sports Group will back Klopp when he identifies a top target.
It was clear Van Dijk was that top target last summer, with the club pushing hard to sign him and signalling a willingness to spend up to £60M to land him. That eagerness backfired, though, and saw Southampton float accusations of tapping up that forced Liverpool to cool their pursuit of the talented Dutchman.
A few on the fringes of Liverpool’s fanbase even managed to turn that into FSG’s preferred outcome—the appearance of willingness to spend without having to spend. Clearly, that isn’t the case. Clearly, £75M—with £70M reportedly guaranteed and heavily front-loaded plus £5M in potential add-ons—ends that talk.
It took them six months longer than it was meant to, but just as in the case of Naby Keïta, this is the statement of intent signing the club wanted and needed to make. Salah, Keïta, Van Dijk. All deals done over the past six months. A trio of transfer fees that could add up to around £180M when every add-on is said and done.
Meanwhile, the club continue to signal through connected journalists that Philippe Coutinho will remain at Anfield at least until the summer; that he will not be sold in January. And with the way the club held the line on that front over the summer, we should probably take them at face value on that now.
It’s a real statement of intent today by the club—another statement of intent. Celebrate it.