Liverpool are reportedly ready to kick off their pursuit of highly rated Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk in a bid to actively strengthen defensively and ultimately make a 'statement of intent' in the transfer market this summer.
The Reds have long been linked with the Dutch international centre-back, who would become the latest in a long list of players, to make the switch from Southampton to Anfield, but the Daily Mail has claimed that Liverpool are now more solidly in the hunt.
Van Dijk has also been heavily linked with Manchester City and Chelsea for some time, while a report from the Liverpool Echo just this week put Everton firmly in the frame as Ronald Koeman chases a reunion with the player.
The Mail report speaks of a 'determination' from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to improve a defensive unit that has once more let the club down again this season.
The Reds, so says the story, 'are not going to be passive', presumably meaning they plan to be heavily involved in what could soon become another transfer saga.
Southampton's valuation of Van Dijk is believed to be north of £50m if recent rumours are to be believed. That would represent a huge new transfer record for Liverpool, smashing the £35m paid for Andy Carroll in 2011, but that is the price to pay for proven quality.
Van Dijk is currently sidelined with an ankle injury and won't play again this season. Concerns over his recovery haven't been flagged as something that could derail any summer transfer, though, and his importance to Southampton has been even clearer in his enforced absence.
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