Advertisement

Liverpool makes significant Virgil van Dijk contract decision as Arne Slot impact felt already

Virgil van Dijk of Netherlands celebrates the fourth goal during the Friendly International match between Netherlands and Canada at Stadion Feijenoord de Kuip on June 6, 2024 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
-Credit: (Image: Patrick Goosen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)


Liverpool will delay contract talks with Virgil van Dijk until the end of the year, it has been claimed. The center-back is entering the final year of his current deal.

Set to captain his side at Euro 2024, Van Dijk will turn 33 while away at the tournament, should the Netherlands still be in the running on July 8. That would require a trip to the semi-finals.

His age is one of the factors that presents Liverpool with something of a conundrum as Arne Slot begins a new era at the club. Nor is it the only issue in the in-tray, with fellow high-earners Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold also on contracts that will expire in the summer of 2025.

READ MORE: Liverpool transfer news LIVE: Bombshell Alexander-Arnold and Real Madrid claim, Ederson latest
READ MORE: Alan Hansen looked totally different on holiday last year after Match of the Day exit

Nonetheless, according to Football Insider, Liverpool is content to delay talks with Van Dijk until the end of the year. Transfer business will take priority in Slot's first summer, in a window where the Reds could even be searching for the Dutchman's long-term successor.

The plan is still to offer Van Dijk an extension, but the decision to delay is a significant one. The club captain will hope to prove at the Euros that he remains one of the continent's foremost operators in his position, and if a new offer from Liverpool is not forthcoming as he ticks towards the final six months of his deal, the situation becomes far more precarious.

It's at that point where Van Dijk would be able to talk to interested overseas parties about a potential free transfer at the end of the season. Again, Liverpool remains keen to avoid that scenario, but the apparent placing of the issue on the 'backburner' says something potentially interesting about the club's priorities.

Coach Arne Slot of Feyenoord Rotterdam during the UEFA Conference League Group Stage match between Feyenoord and 1. FC Union Berlin at Stadion Feijenoord on October 21, 2021 in Rotterdam, Netherlands
A Liverpool star has revealed he is yet to hear anything from new head coach Arne Slot. -Credit:Yannick Verhoeven/BSR Agency/Getty Images

As yet, there's no specific word on when talks with Salah and Alexander-Arnold will be pursued. However, it's thought that Liverpool wants both of them to play a part in the Slot era, with proposals of fresh terms expected in due course — even if exit rumors are swirling around the full-back.

Liverpool.com says: If this is nothing more than a logistical decision, it's fairly understandable. Van Dijk will be away for a lot of the summer, and once he's back at Liverpool, the season may well be underway.

At that point, Slot won't want any distractions. However, there could be few bigger distractions than the future of the club captain becoming a circus, so it's hardly ideal to be putting a new deal on hold.

That January date where clubs can start negotiating over a free transfer looks especially significant. If Liverpool can at least agree a new contract with Van Dijk before then, it will be a source of major comfort, offering some certainty and stability ahead of the run-in.