A player heavily linked with Manchester United this year could end up signing for Liverpool after revealing how he loves to play alongside Virgil van Dijk.
The Netherlands are currently preparing for their World Cup campaign and there will be plenty of Premier League interest in how the team does. There are a few stars currently playing in England in Louis van Gaal’s squad, including Van Dijk, Tyrell Malacia and Nathan Ake.
Plus, there are players on the radar of Premier League clubs who will be hoping to make a big impression at the tournament.
Wing-backs Denzel Dumfries and Jeremie Frimpong have both made the cut. They are two options for Man Utd, should Erik ten Hag look to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Centre-half Stefan de Vrij is also in the squad. Tottenham are apparently ready to go on the attack for him, with his Inter Milan contract running down.
Frenkie de Jong and Cody Gakpo could also move to England in the next year or so. De Jong is Ten Hag’s prime target as he searches for a Man Utd midfield partner for Casemiro. Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked with the Barcelona man.
Man Utd, Leeds and Southampton all held talks with PSV over the capture of Gakpo in the summer. But none of those clubs could match PSV’s valuation and the forward remains in Holland.
Man Utd and Liverpool are now turning their attention towards a January deal for Gakpo, with PSV bracing themselves for bids.
Eye-catching comment made in Netherlands press conference
Ahead of the Netherlands’ match against Senegal on Monday, Van Dijk and De Jong took part in a press conference.
And De Jong has revealed how he enjoys playing alongside the Liverpool star, setting up a possible Anfield switch in the future.
“When I look behind me and I see Virgil van Dijk, it gives me a feeling of calmness. A feeling of safety,” De Jong admitted (via HITC).
The 25-year-old didn’t discuss interest from Man Utd and Liverpool in snapping him up. But it’s clear he would love to shine while playing with Van Dijk at club level in the future, given how dominant the centre-back can be.
Tough to prize De Jong out of Barca
As in the summer, though, Man Utd and Liverpool would have a few hurdles to overcome before getting De Jong through the door.
First of all, he was owed around £17m by Barca in the summer, through deferred wage payments. Man Utd held several rounds of talks over his potential signing, but he wouldn’t move until these payments were handed over.
It’s unknown whether Barca have sorted this problem or if De Jong is still due the £17m. If they still need to pay him, then a 2023 transfer to Man Utd or Liverpool can be written off too.
Another factor to consider is convincing De Jong to leave Barca. As with several other Dutch players, the opportunity to play for Barca is a huge one. A large part of this stems from Johan Cruyff and his iconic spell with the club.
De Jong is fulfilling his dream by playing for Barca. So if Man Utd or Liverpool truly hope to land him, they need to put on a major charm offensive. This would likely involve a big pay rise and an exciting project to take part in.