Virgil van Dijk is still technically a Southampton player and will be until the clocks in England turn over and December 31st becomes January 1st. Then, he will be Liverpool’s. A £75M world record signing on £180k per week. It’s a statement of intent signing if there ever was one, and he’s the player Jürgen Klopp wanted.
“He is technically still a player of Southampton so I will have many more opportunities to talk about him later,” was the Liverpool manager’s happy response when asked about Van Dijk at his pre-match press conference for Saturday’s game against Leicester City–when Van Dijk will be in the stands but not yet a part of the squad.
“I can imaging people are thinking, wow, what a number it is. But of course for me this is not so interesting. We don’t make the prices, the market makes the prices, and the first thing all Liverpool fans should forget is price—we only came about the player and what he can bring. Quality, character, mentality, and all that stuff.”
We know Van Dijk won’t officially be a Liverpool player when they take on Leicester and will be when they face Burnley on January 1st, though most expect the centre half to be handed his debut the game after—against Everton in the FA Cup on January 5th. For now, though, Klopp isn’t committing to a schedule for him.
“It’s a long-term thing,” Klopp said when reporters tried to get him to commit to a debut date. “He had probably not the best half-season at Southampton, he was out very long injured and then we know all the things that then happened last summer. So he needs rhythm but it is not a problem because we have quality at this position.
“We don’t need to rush anything, and he needs to adapt to our style of play—it’s completely different. But we are 100% sure he will do it and I am very happy about the fact it’s finally done. There’s no rush.”