Virgil van Dijk has revealed the reasons why he elected to join Liverpool in January 2018 when he left Southampton, saying he took a holistic view of the clubs who were interested in signing him.
Touted as a rising star at the time, the Dutchman had interest from clubs all over Europe including the likes of Manchester City as he made the step up to a top-six club, but he opted to move to Anfield.
He has since grown into one of the outstanding players in the world game, with Fabio Cannavaro lamenting that he missed out on the Ballon d’Or while Franco Baresi, one of the all-time great defenders, has hailed his contribution to the Liverpool team that has sprinted to the brink of the Premier League title and won the Champions League last term.
“Before I made the decision to choose Liverpool, I looked at all the aspects of the clubs; the way of playing, the team-mates, the future as well,” Van Dijk told BT Sport. “The city, the fans everything has got to be a big part of joining a club.
“I think Liverpool at that time when I made the decision was the right decision and obviously to reach the Champions League final in my first six months was obviously a big bonus and helped me a lot in my development.”
The 28-year-old, whose £75 million ($91.5m) fee was a world record for a defender when he made his move, has since played 81 times in the Premier League for Jurgen Klopp’s side, turning out 113 times overall. Previously, he had played for Groningen and Celtic, gaining Champions League experience at the latter.
While he has impressed with Liverpool, he has also been a formidable figure for the Netherlands, with whom he has turned out 33 times, scoring four goals.
He captained the Dutch to the inaugural Nations League final, in which they finished runners-up to Portugal, while he expects to be a member of the squad that will take part in next year’s European Championship, which has been pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.