‘Van Dijk isn’t the Premier League’s best ever defender’ – Liverpool legend Nicol refutes big billing


Virgil van Dijk has been showered with praise since making a record-breaking £75 million ($92m) move to Liverpool, but Steve Nicol says it is too early to bill him as the best defender the Premier League has ever seen.

Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany – another of those who would come into any conversation regarding the finest top-flight talent in England – has declared that he considers a Dutch centre-half to be the finest.

Many share that opinion, with Van Dijk regularly being talked up as the most talented defender in the world today.

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Liverpool have benefited considerably from that talent, with the Netherlands international helping them to Champions League and Club World Cup crowns with a number of commanding and consistent performances.

Nicol concedes that the 28-year-old has been a fine addition for Jurgen Klopp, but the former Reds defender is reluctant to buy into the belief that Van Dijk is the best English football has seen since a new era was opened in 1992.

“I think it’s very difficult to turn around and say he’s the best centre-back ever in the Premier League history because the problem is right now he’s current and that’s what Kompany’s focusing on,” Nicol told ESPN FC.

“I think the other thing you have to remember is that it was such an obvious problem Liverpool had, it was such a gaping hole in the back, the reason they couldn’t get across the line is because they were losing goals.

“The best guy around in the Premier League at Southampton was Van Dijk and he’s come in and he has been superb. He right now, no question, is the top centre-back in world football, never mind just in the Premier League.

“It’s a short space at the very top with Liverpool, two seasons, so I’m not quite ready to say he’s the best one ever. He’s certainly up there in the argument but just a little early for me to be throwing that sort of accolade around.”

Any debate regarding the finest Premier League defenders of all time would expect to have a number of other legendary names thrown into the pot.

Chelsea icon John Terry would likely be in contention, along with Manchester United greats Rio Ferdinand and Jaap Stam, while Tony Adams and Sol Campbell have previously starred for Arsenal. Kompany would also be the pick of many, with the Belgian having enjoyed 11 memorable years at City before heading home to Anderlecht in 2019.

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