Belfast Telegraph

Price tag was last thing on my mind in deal for Van Dijk: Klopp

 

By Rory Dollard

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admits it was "not nice" shelling out £75million for Virgil van Dijk but had little option in current market conditions.

Klopp has finally landed his main defensive target after a protracted courtship which included an unsuccessful transfer request in the summer.

But in bringing the Holland international to Anfield, Klopp had to set a new world record for a defender, easily eclipsing the £54million which took Kyle Walker from Tottenham to Manchester City.

The magnitude of the deal does not sit easily with the German but he believes it is no longer possible to keep a lid on spiralling fees.

"It's a big change in football over a few months and years and we have to adapt to it," he said.

"It's not nice but that's the market, that's the world.

"If you want to sign a player, the last thing I actually think about is the price."

Van Dijk will not yet be a Liverpool player when they take on Leicester today, joining officially on January 1.

The Reds are also expected to face renewed interest from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho, having refused to do business in the summer.

There is no indication that their answer will be any different should the Catalan giants come calling again, with the playmaker even taking the captaincy in the 5-0 thrashing of Swansea on Boxing Day.

"I don't know if I make the story less romantic but when Hendo (Jordan Henderson) and Milly (James Milner) were not playing, I need to look at our longest servant - Philippe Coutinho," Klopp explained.

"That's why he was the captain."

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