Liverpool now has no excuses for not signing Virgil van Dijk's perfect long-term replacement

Virgil van Dijk is set to enter the final year of his Liverpool contract but a ready-made long-term replacement may be available this summer
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

The perfect long-term replacement for Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool may be on the move summer as Bayern Munich center-back Matthijs de Ligt looks set to be made available for a transfer.

The Dutchman already has partnered the Reds captain for the Netherlands national team, with the pair having long been mainstays for their country. At club level, the 24-year-old's future with Bayern Munich looks uncertain after just a couple of seasons in the Bundesliga, however.

That is according to Sky Sports Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg, who revealed on Twitter/X that the Holland colossus is potentially set for a switch this summer. He claims that his currently employers need "revenue", with his "high salary" - on his contract which runs until 2027 - factors in the surprise call.

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The journalist claims that Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah has already been identified by Bayern chiefs as his replacement at the Allianz Arena, while Chelsea's Levi Colwill is also considered as an option. With De Ligt's days in Bavaria potentially numbered, this could present Liverpool with a rare opportunity to pick up one of the continent's leading defensive talents, who is valued at £54m/€65m by TransferMarkt.

First making his name with boyhood club Ajax, he was named club captain as a teenager, while also winning the coveted European Golden Boy prize in his homeland. From there, he earned a move to Italian giants Juventus, where he starred for three years before moving to Germany.

He played 31 times in the league during his debut campaign in Munich, while only managing 22 appearances in the Bundesliga last term due to a knee ligament tear. Still, his experience of playing for three of the continent's most storied clubs since his emergence in the 2016-17 season will likely see him attract a host of suitors in the coming months.

Over on Merseyside, it could be argued that the lack of obvious cover for Van Dijk at the heart of defense may be an issue that may need resolving during the off-season. While the versatile Joe Gomez is an option that will prove an asset to Arne Slot as a deputy in this area, a longer-term solution may be sought with Liverpool's skipper set to turn 33 next month.

Moreover, the Reds captain is also set to enter the final year of his current contract, which further strengthen's the case for the club's recruitment team to be partaking in some forward planning. On top of this, the departure of Anfield mainstay Joel Matip on a free transfer this summer will already leave a major void for newly-installed Reds sporting director Richard Hughes and his team to fill in defense.

This means De Ligt's potential availability may have come at the perfect time for decision-makers in L4 as they attempt to navigate the post-Jurgen Klopp era. In the Dutchman, they may find a ready-made replacement for Van Dijk, who could be nurtured by his countryman before eventually succeeding him in the center of Slot's backline.

Arne Slot will be tasked with navigating Liverpool's new era, with a number of crucial decisions set to be made
Matthijs de Ligt of Bayern Munich could be on the move this summer and his availability may alert Liverpool

Of course, the powers-that-be at Anfield will also be wary of not stifling the development of Jarrell Quansah, who had a breakout season last term - often appearing alongside the Liverpool captain. Meanwhile, Ibrahima Konate's quality as the captain's usual partner has been long-established, with the French international having demonstrated world-class attributes in his three seasons in England.

However, in De Light, Slot could find a player who can both partner his compatriot, while also filling in for him on the left-hand side of a center-back pairing as the Reds legend's years continue to advance. If the 2024-25 campaign is to be Van Dijk's last with the club, a move for his fellow Netherlands already makes a lot of sense.