CONFIRMED: Virgil van Dijk 'delighted and honoured' as he joins Liverpool in record-breaking deal
Liverpool have confirmed that they have agreed a deal to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.
Liverpool released a statement to confirm a story first revealed by Independent.ie on Saturday:
"Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk.
"The Reds have agreed a deal with the south coast club, and the player himself, that will see the 26-year-old defender move to Anfield when the transfer window re-opens on January 1, 2018.
"The Netherlands international will be assigned squad number four, upon his arrival at Liverpool."
Van Dijk gave his reaction to the news in an Instagram post:
"Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player," he said.
"Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football!
I can’t wait to pull on the famous red shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have to try and help this great club achieve something special in the years to come.
"I’m now looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting started."
Independent.ie broke the news last Saturday that Southampton officials had decided to sell Van Dijk after a fresh round of talks with the player and his advisers earlier this month, when as the Dutchman again made it clear that he wanted to move on in the January transfer window.
That inspired Saints chiefs to give Liverpool the green light to open negotiations for the player, after they flatly refused to do business with the Anfield club over Van Dijk last summer after it emerged Van Dijk had met with senior Liverpool officials over a move.
Liverpool chiefs were forced to issue a public apology for their actions in a bid to avoid Football Association sanctions, but the mood at Southampton has changed in recent weeks as Van Dijk has failed to change his stance on wanting to move on.
That forced Southampton chiefs to re-consider their position and they then moved to a position of trying to extract the most money from Liverpool or Manchester City for one of the most sought after players in the upcoming transfer window.
Van Dijk's eligibility to play in the knock-out stages of the Champions League enhanced his value and Southampton made it clear that they would not consider a sale unless an offer matched their £70m valuation.
Southampton were waiting to see if Manchester City or Chelsea were prepared to match Liverpool's offer for Van Dijk, but the desire of Anfield chiefs to push this deal over the line has won the day.
Van Dijk's eagerness to move to Liverpool has been a key factor in negotiations and Liverpool's willingness to spend such a vast amount on the player ensured that compromise between the two parties could be reached.
Now Van Dijk will become a Liverpool player when the transfer window opens on January 1st and he could make his debut in the FA Cup third round tie against Everton at Anfield five days later.