Liverpool Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Virgil van Dijk Before Window Opens

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2017

Southampton's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk walks from the pitch at half time in the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Southampton at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on January 14, 2017. / AFP / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
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Liverpool reportedly have a genuine chance of snapping up in-demand Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk, as the Dutchman is tempted by the chance to work under Reds manager Jurgen Klopp.

According to John Cross in The MirrorLiverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City have all been strongly linked with the £50 million-rated Van Dijk, but Premier League champions Chelsea were believed to be favourites to sign him.

However, per Cross, Liverpool have now emerged as real challengers for his signature, and Klopp is prepared to make the 25-year-old his defensive leader—along with Arsenal, the Reds are also offering the best financial package of around £200,000 per week.

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Middlesbrough at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 21, 2017.
Liverpool won 3-0. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO ED
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Liverpool are in a strong position to attract top talent this summer after finishing in the top four of the Premier League in 2016-17 and qualifying for next term's UEFA Champions League.

If they are to compete both domestically and in Europe next season, the Reds need to flesh out their squad and, in particular, bolster their weak defence.

Liverpool have conceded over 40 league goals in each of the last seven seasons. For context, only one side has won the Premier League title conceding more than 37 goals in the last 17 seasons—Manchester United let in 43 in 2012-13. 

If Liverpool are to win the title again, they need a better back line, and bringing in Van Dijk would potentially go a long way to solving their defensive issues.

He has not played since January after picking up an injury against Leicester City, but in the first half of 2016-17, he was arguably the Premier League's best defender, per Per Sky Sports' Monday Night Football:

Boasting a physicality and calmness currently lacking in Liverpool's defence, Van Dijk would automatically become the senior centre-back at Anfield were he to sign and could be an important leader in Klopp's side.

He will be difficult to snap up, as Chelsea and City, in particular, have the financial power to sway Saints and Van Dijk. Per Cross, Southampton are also insistent he is not for sale.

However, Van Dijk is exactly the kind of addition Liverpool need to make if they are to thrive next season and the fact he is reportedly attracted by the prospect of working under Klopp could give the Merseyside outfit an edge over their rivals.