Stan Collymore believes Manchester City could dominate European football for the next decade – but must sign Virgil van Dijk from Liverpool to bolster their defence.
The Dutch defender looks a good bet to be crowned Footballer of the Year after a brilliant season in the heart of Liverpool’s defence; the £75million the Reds paid Southampton in January 2018 now looking like a shrewd investment.
Liverpool beat the likes of City and Chelsea to snare Van Dijk from Saints and former Reds striker Collymore has suggested he could still be a transfer target for Pep Guardiola this summer.
Writing in his column for the Daily Mirror, Collymore wrote: “I know Pep Guardiola has said he’ll prioritise a full-back and a defensive midfielder in the summer.
“But if I was him the first person I’d be targeting is Virgil van Dijk.
“I’d offer John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi plus £150million for the Dutchman and I wouldn’t stop until Liverpool accepted my offer was simply too good to turn down.
“I know Jurgen Klopp has a long-term contract at Anfield and that, if Liverpool don’t win the Premier League, they will finish probably finish second and won’t want to be selling their best players.
“Especially not to their rivals.
“But Van Dijk is one of those incredibly gifted athletes and would make any defence on Planet Earth significantly better.
“And if City want to become the dominant force they say they want to, then going all out for him would be a no-brainer.
“Van Dijk reads the game better than any other defender in the Premier League and is a bit old-school in that respect.
“I’d put him in the Rio Ferdinand bracket when it comes to his reading of situations — he sees the danger, acknowledges the danger and has the physicality and athleticism to be able to deal with it.
“Some players can read the game but don’t have the pace and some have the pace but not the instinct.
“He has the lot and on top of that he exudes a calmness that rubs off on the rest of his side’s back four.
“I see in Van Dijk someone who is unflustered and will go on, either with Liverpool or another club, to win many, many titles.
“And by the time he hangs up his boots, we could be talking about him in the same venerable tones as Sergio Ramos if he gets the chance to win as many titles either at Liverpool or elsewhere.”
Collymore concluded: “Van Dijk has to be worth at least £175m of anybody’s money and, while it’s easy to throw around statements such as ‘best in the world’, I really believe he is.”
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