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Explained: What must happen next for Van Dijk to become a Liverpool player

Date Posted,June 5, 2017

Virgil van Dijk appeared to have made his mind up, the Southampton star reportedly chose Liverpool over Manchester City and a move to Anfield would now be a formality.

But Saints did not take kindly to the celebrations coming from Reds fans and swiftly voiced their discontent at the manner in which Liverpool had conducted their business.

They have reported the Reds to the Premier League for tapping up the Dutch international and are vehemently denying any sale will take place.

We’ve seen this one before and it will likely run until the end of the window, but what will happen in the coming weeks and what needs to occur for Jurgen Klopp to get his man?

Neil Jones at the Liverpool Echo takes a look:

Van Dijk picked up an injury to prematurely end his season (Photo: Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

The fee

Let’s start with the obvious. Liverpool are yet to agree a fee with Southampton for the player.

A fair obstacle, given Saints have insisted publicly that they are not under pressure to sell players this summer.

Van Dijk is 12 months into a six-year contract, and is ‘team captain’ at St Mary’s. He will cost a hell of a lot of money.

Liverpool know they will have to smash their transfer record, which stands at £35m, if they are to sign him. A world record fee for a defender, more than £50m, can be expected.

Southampton, it is understood, will owe some of that fee to Celtic. Van Dijk’s former club insisted on a sell-on clause when the player moved to England in 2015, and are entitled to 10% of whatever Saints make. That will be factored in to negotiations.

The key to remember, though, is how much work Liverpool have put into convincing Van Dijk to come to the club. Unlikely, then, that they would have done that without being willing to meet Southampton’s asking price, whatever that ends up being.

The Dutch international has been a rock for Saints (Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

The relationship between the clubs

Of course, the path from St Mary’s to Anfield has been very well trodden in recent years.

Were Van Dijk to join Liverpool, he would be the sixth player to make the move since 2014.

That suggests the clubs are able to negotiate with each other, although it is known that Liverpool’s pursuit of both Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren created a bit of bad blood. Both have been routinely booed when returning to Southampton.

Southampton today escalated affairs by apparently reporting the Reds to the Premier League for an “illegal approach” to the player. That has not been officially confirmed yet but will likely lead to the authorities asking the Reds for their “observations” on the matter before anything more significant develops.

It could all, of course, be simply part of the selling club keeping their own fans happy and ensuring they play hard ball for the best possible price if they are to let a prized asset leave St Mary’s.

Ross Wilson is Saints’ head of recruitment and scouting, and the man who handles their transfer negotiations, while Michael Edwards will perform the same role for Liverpool.

Southampton have proven adept at securing good fees when selling players on in recent years – in addition to Lallana and Lovren, they have sold Sadio Mane , Nathaniel Clyne , Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin for big money – but have also shown that, in the end, if a player wants to move, he will get his wish.

The contract

This should be the easiest part. Liverpool have been encouraged by what they’ve heard from Van Dijk and his camp, and have already cleared the biggest hurdle in that regard.

They’re willing to meet his wage demands, and were always confident that finance would not be the driving force behind the player’s decision.

Expect few hurdles here.

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The medical

Standard, of course. Van Dijk missed the last five months of the Premier League season after suffering a damaged ligament in the sole of his foot back in January.

He underwent surgery on that, but has recently been posting videos showing him back on the field, running, kicking a ball and working with his fitness coach.

His general fitness record is good – he has played at least 30 games in each of his last six seasons as a pro – and so the medical should be passed without a problem.

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