Sunday 16 June 2019

John Aldridge: Why Liverpool have done the Premier League a favour by signing Vigil van Dijk

Van Dijk and (inset) John Aldridge
Van Dijk and (inset) John Aldridge
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool goal scoring great John Aldridge believes his former club have done the Premier League a huge favour by signing Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk from under the noses of Manchester City.

The £75m deal that will see Van Dijk move to Liverpool on January 1st was confirmed on Wednesday evening, with Aldridge suggesting the signing halts City's ambition to dominate the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola's runaway Premier League leaders have made a succession of huge signings in recent years to emerge as the powerhouse of English football, but Aldridge suggests Van Dijk's move to Anfield confirms that their domestic rivals can outbid them for star names.

"We all appreciate that Southampton’s valuation of their Dutch centre-back is ridiculous, but the oil-rich owners who have taken over the Premier League have changed price structure of the transfer market and we have to accept where we are now," stated Aldridge.

"The television money flowing into the Premier League now means clubs can justify paying way over the odds to get top quality players and Van Dijk has now become a necessity for Liverpool after chasing him for so long.

"There are rumours that Manchester City and Chelsea also want him, with the clubs backed by sugar-daddy owners always willing to spend the kind of money that can blow all their rivals away, but Liverpool had to take them on this time and get Van Dijk.

"His arrival would not solve some of Klopp’s defensive problems in one hit, but it would also be the powerful defender they are lacking and it would send out a signal that Liverpool are serious about competing for top players."

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Aldridge suspects the vast fee Liverpool are paying to sign Van Dijk will be funding by the sale of Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona next summer, as he predicts the signing could gibe Liverpool a chance to challenge for this season's Champions League.

"While £75m is a lot of money for one player, it’s small change in modern Premier League clubs and the reality is that Liverpool will probably collect £120m from selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona next summer, so this is effectively investing money that will arrive later in 2018," he adds.

"I suspect a deal is probably in place for Coutinho to be sold next summer so by getting Van Dijk now, Liverpool would have a chance to have a real go at challenging for the Champions League and second spot in the Premier League in the second half of the season.

"This Liverpool team are so close to being ready to challenge for every trophy in the game and they will have a chance of having a go at the Champions League this season if Van Dijk bolsters the defence as their attacking players are as good as anyone, including Manchester City."

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