London (AFP) – Dutch international defender Virgil van Dijk is set to become the world’s most expensive defender and join English Premier League giants Liverpool from rivals Southampton, according to British media reports.
The 25-year-old — who joined Southampton in 2015 after impressing at Scottish champions Celtic — will cost around £60million (69m euros, $77m), according to reports.
He would also be Liverpool’s most expensive ever signing — striker Andy Carroll having cost £35m in moving from Newcastle in 2011.
Celtic would be in line for 10 percent of the fee having included a sell on clause in the £11.5m transfer to Saints.
David Luiz is presently the most expensive defender in the world having been sold to Paris Saint Germain by Chelsea for £50million in 2014.
According to the “Sun” newspaper, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has convinced the Liverpool owners van Dijk is deserving of earning a weekly wage of almost £200,000 (230,000 euros, $258,000) — which will make him their highest ever paid player.
Van Dijk — who also caught the eye of both Manchester City and champions Chelsea — is keen on a move to Liverpool not only for Champions League football but to join compatriot and close friend Georginio Wijnaldum.
Southampton have become a favoured hunting ground for Liverpool in the past three years having signed five players — including Adam Lallana and Senegalese star Sadio Mane — for a total of almost £100million.