Liverpool are ready to begin contract negotiations with Virgil van Dijk, it has been revealed.
Van Dijk is currently sidelined for most of the season with an ACL injury. However, the club remain faithful he will make an immediate impact when he returns later next year.
The Dutchman has been instrumental to Liverpool’s success since his move from Southampton in January 2018. He has won the Premier League and Champions League since then.
Van Dijk won the PFA Player of the Year award in 2019 and was in the PFA Team of the Year the following season as well after inspiring Liverpool to the title.
However, he will not be able to help them defend that crown in the way he would have liked. He has been out since October with an ACL injury following a challenge from Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby.
Liverpool are still keen to reflect how valuable the 29-year-old is to them, though. According to Fabrizio Romano, the champions will use the time he is absent to discuss a new contract with him.
Van Dijk’s current deal, the original one he signed, runs until 2023. Speaking to the Que Golazo podcast, Romano revealed that Liverpool could offer him a long-term extension that would guarantee he would spend the rest of his prime years at Anfield.
“Liverpool want in the new year to open new talks with the agent of Virgil van Dijk to extend his contract,” Romano said.
“They are so happy with the player, and van Dijk is so happy with Liverpool. So immediately after his injury they were saying, ‘OK you are injured, but you are our leader, so we also want you in the future’.
“At the moment he has two more seasons of his contract at Liverpool, but they’re ready to extend for the next five years, so those talks are going to take place in the new year.
“Liverpool will go with van Dijk in the future, they don’t want to sell him. Jurgen Klopp is absolutely a big fan of van Dijk.”
Liverpool January plan revealed
With van Dijk’s main centre-back partner Joe Gomez also out with a long-term injury, there has been speculation that Liverpool could sign a new defender in January.
In their most recent match, against Fulham, Joel Matip went off at half-time with an injury of his own. It left them with no recognised centre-backs on the pitch – although Klopp is confident Matip will be back soon.
However, before that game, assistant manager Pep Lijnders confirmed that the club are not likely to bring in a new body at the back when the transfer window opens. Instead, he hinted at more opportunities for the likes of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips.
“It’s always like this. But some devastating moments create life-changing moments for other players,” Lijnders said.
“We have so much faith in our young blood, in the players we brought up, our own players.
“These moments where you lose a top, top player automatically creates a big chance for a young player. We invest a lot of time and we have a big commitment to them to be part of our squad.”