Liverpool got their man in early this time around, securing Virgil van Dijk’s signature five days before the transfer window opened. The early timing of it, though, meant that he wasn’t yet a Liverpool player, not officially at least. Today he is, and the club are celebrating his arrival.
Confirming he will wear the number four, taking pictures of him leaning against things at Melwood and taking in his first Liverpool training session earlier today, and asking the club’s new, £75M centre half to talk a bit about his move to the north and why he was determined to make it.
“I think the most important thing is the size of the club,” said the 26-year-old Dutch international. “The culture of the club, the players, the manager, and obviously the fans who make the club this special. With the history at the club and everything around it it is just a perfect, perfect match for me.”
Perfect fit and a move that “just feels right” aside—words both Van Dijk and manager Jürgen Klopp used to describe it—many have been a little surprised the club got him after the missteps of last summer. Not just observers but Liverpool fans too assumed the club had missed their chance.
The difference, in the end, was Klopp and the chance to work under the Liverpool manager. It was their unsanctioned meeting over the summer in Blackpool that initially angered Southampton and led to accusations of tapping up the player, but in the end it may also have been why he signed.
Chelsea came calling with the promise of playing for a big club in London; Manchester City came calling with the promise of a Premier League medal just for showing up. In the end, Van Dijk stuck with his choice from the summer—he stuck with Liverpool and, more than that even, with Klopp.
“Everybody obviously from a Liverpool perspective knows how he is,” Van Dijk added. “How lively he is, how he can make players better and give them confidence as well. It just suits me as well. I think he can make me a better player and I am just looking forward to working with him.
“Obviously there is a lot of money being paid, but I can’t do anything about that money, I can’t do anything about the price—it’s only the market. The only thing I can do is just work hard, do the good things, and be 100 per cent every day. That’s what I definitely want to do and am going to do.”