From Klopp to Carra and Puyol: The experts’ Van Dijk verdict

Date published: Thursday 28th December 2017 2:20

On January 1, Virgil van Dijk will officially become a Liverpool player. But people are not about to wait until then to pass their judgement on the world’s most expensive defender. And the most expensive January signing ever, of course.

From new manager Jurgen Klopp to Neil Warnock, with a brief detour at Stan Collymore, here is a selection of what the experts are saying about the player who will soon fail to displace Dejan Lovren in the first team.


Jurgen Klopp: “We don’t make the prices, the market does. Liverpool supporters should forget about the price. We only talk about the player and what he can bring in; the quality, the mentality, the character. That is why we are really happy about it.”


Worth it

Jamie Carragher: “I’m not sure he’ll go straight in. As we’ve seen, Jurgen Klopp likes to rotate, and will want to get him on the training ground and see him right. Once he does, I don’t think he’ll be dislodged. People will look at that transfer fee, it’s normally strikers going for that type of figure. But as with any transfer fee, if he performs well and does that job he’s been brought in for it will be worth it.”



Gary Neville: “It’s a lot of money! When I first heard it I thought ‘wow, £75m’. I’m not surprised by the actual transfer but that is an incredible amount of money. Liverpool need defenders and have to pay to get him. That’s the way the market is and it isn’t going to change.”



Alan Shearer: “No, he is not worth it at all. Southampton could have named any price they wanted and Liverpool were desperate. As we have witnessed many times this season, Liverpool are in dire need of a centre-half. He is good, but £75m? No.”



Carles Puyol: “The amounts are crazy, but this is the market. And I don’t think this will stop. Yesterday, Virgil van Dijk was bought for £75m. Years ago, this was impossible.”


Sol Bamba > 

Neil Warnock: “I think Van Dijk has got better attributes on the ball than Sol Bamba but I don’t think he is a better defender. I think Sol Bamba is slightly better than Van Dijk defensive-wise.”


The best

Claude Puel: “He is one of the best defenders in the world and he has all the qualities to become the best. It is fantastic for Liverpool.”



Martin Keown: ‘Virgil van Dijk is an important signing for Liverpool, but while centre back is a position Jurgen Klopp needed to strengthen, one player will not fix the problems in his defence. What Klopp should do now is use this as an opportunity to form a new partnership in the heart of Liverpool’s back-line, by moving Joe Gomez into the middle to play alongside his record signing.’


Everything you would want

Neil McGuiness, former Celtic scout: “He’s everything you would want if you could create a profile of the ideal central defender. Now 26, he is tall, imposing and very strong in his aerial challenges, both in attack and defence. He has no problems with the physical side of the game and likes to dominate his opponents. Technically he is a very smooth ball-playing defender which is something Liverpool have lacked in recent years. He is capable of playing as either the right or left-sided centre-back, but most usually deployed in the left centre-back role, although he is right footed.”



Stan Collymore: ‘£75m. Too much money burning too many big holes in too many pockets. Even the biggest clubs will be pricing themselves out of the market soon. Absolute madness.’



Phil Thompson: ‘It’s a massive step in the right direction to sorting out our defensive issues.’



Matt Le Tissier:

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