Liverpool’s superstar centre-half Virgil van Dijk has opened up on the motives behind snubbing the interest of Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal in favour of moving to Anfiield in 2018.
The Reds forked out a whopping £75m for the Dutch colossus in the 2018 winter window, with many at the time poking fun at the gargantuan fee Liverpool had paid.
Van Dijk quickly quashed the dissenters, with his faultless displays transforming Jurgen Klopp’s backline from appearing perennially vulnerable to the league’s best.
Within six months, the 28-year-old appeared in his first Champions League final, and fast forward to the present day, appears set to add a Premier League winners medal to his 2019 Champions League medal – should the 2019-20 season be able to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It all could’ve been so very different, however, with Liverpool just one of a host of heavy-hitting Premier League clubs registering their interest in the Saints centre-half at the time.
Now, speaking to BT Sport (via the Liverpool Echo), Van Dijk revealed the motives behind determining a switch to Liverpool was the right move for him.
“Before I made the decision to choose Liverpool, I looked at all the aspects of the clubs; the way of playing, the team-mates, the future as well,” said Van Dijk.
“The city, the fans everything has got to be big part of joining a club.
“I think Liverpool at that time when I made the decision was the right decision and obviously to reach the Champions League final in my first six months was obviously a big bonus.”
Regarding his own game, he continued: “I just have to keep doing what I’m doing for a longer time. Everybody will always have their opinion, will keep an eye on the small things that happen in the game, the small mistakes you might make in a game.
“I just focus on maintaining the same level I’ve been having the last couple of years.
“There is always room for improvement, I just have to keep looking for it and keep working on it. The manager and my team-mates can keep helping me get better.”
The coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to football proceedings for the time being, with the unusual mid-season hiatus making many players pause for thought.
Reflecting on the once-in-a-lifetime scenario he and footballers everywhere are currently facing, Van Dijk said: “It’s difficult to not be out there and showing our talents. Even the smaller things.
“Playing for so many fans, the whole build-up to games, training sessions, seeing the boys – we spent so much time together and all of sudden we are not together for two months almost.
“It’s crazy and the feeling you have right now you’d never had before. It definitely makes you appreciate (football) a little bit more.”