Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is planning to break the club’s transfer record to buy Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, according to a report.
The Liverpool Echo claim Liverpool will not be put off the £50million price tag that Saints are believed to want if they have to relinquish the services of the 25-year-old.
Saints have no plans to sell the central defender, who only signed a new six-year deal in May 2016, and he is contracted to the south-coast club until 2022.
Klopp though is determined to strengthen his defence this summer and knows he will have part with a significant amount of money to better what he already has at Anfield.
The club’s record signing is the £35million they paid for Andy Carroll in 2011, but they did spend big on £34million Sadio Mane last summer and are willing to do the same again this summer.
Van Dijk is believed to be Klopp’s number one target, but Man City, Chelsea, Everton and now Arsenal are in the hunt for the former Celtic man, who signed for Saints for £13milllion in September 2015.
The club “are prepared to make the 25-year-old defender one of the club’s highest wage earners” claims the report, with Southampton “resigned to losing” the player.
That is in stark contrast to a recent report, which quoted a source close to the player and claimed he was “settled at the club”.
A club source, attributed by the Daily Star, is claimed to have said: “When Virgil took the captaincy it was on the understanding he would lead the team until the end of next season as a minimum.
“He has a long-term contract and is settled at the club.”
And in January Southampton executive director Les Reed stated: “Virgil is not for the sale.”
However, that stance may have changed, especially if Van Dijk has made his desire to play Champions League football clear.
Van Dijk, who has been sidelined since January with a foot injury, is expected to assess his options in the summer and if the indications are that he wants to leave then Klopp will be ready with a huge offer.