If any Liverpool players knew about the surprise impending signing of Cody Gakpo before news broke on Monday evening, then it was almost certainly Netherlands’ captain Virgil van Dijk. The Liverpool defender just spent weeks with his fellow countryman in Qatar playing in the World Cup, where it appears he may also have spent some time on recruitment duty.
The announcement of another attacking player added to the line-up was a bit of a head scratcher to fans and pundits alike who had expected any January additions to be in the midfield. But you can’t argue with Gakpo’s talent, and when Van Dijk spoke after Liverpool’s victory against Aston Villa on Monday he seemed to clearly hint at what was yet to come.
“Hopefully the injured players can come back soon, and hopefully we can welcome some new players at our football club,” Van Dijk said when asked about the many injured Liverpool players currently missing from the lineup. “We will see. I think that quality is always welcome at Liverpool.”
That quote, coming unprompted as it did from a PR pro like van Dijk who is well-versed in sidestepping sticky questions, in retrospect should was a pretty obvious clue. Perhaps it also speaks a little to any questions as to why the club has moved to sign Gakpo now as well. His performance in the World Cup was proof of his quality, and clearly his captain vouches for him—and as van Dijk says, quality is always welcome at Liverpool.
This does make the prospect of bringing in some much needed midfield reinforcements seem less likely though, at least in January given the difficulty of making even one major deal in the mid-season window, never mind completing multiple major deals. If the club are planning more moves, though, there is at least plenty of time left with the window not even officially open yet.