The Best Premier League Transfers Ever: Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool (2017/18)

David Lynch
  • David Lynch
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 4 min read
David Lynch Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST 4 min read
The Best Premier League Transfers Ever: Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool (2017/18)

Generally speaking, managers tend to treat defence as their number one priority after taking over at a new club.

But it didn’t quite work like that for Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, with the German instead choosing to fix the Reds as an attacking force before turning his attentions elsewhere.

However, it is telling that they did not pick up a single piece of silverware until after they had signed a man who effectively cured their defensive ills in January 2018.

This article is part of FootballTransfers’ greatest-ever Premier League deals. We have selected just one standout transfer from every season of the Premier League, including two honourable mentions. This list will then be gathered to provide a definitive list of the best pieces of business in the Premier League era.

Virgil van Dijk, Southampton to Liverpool, £75m

But for their own mistakes, Liverpool would have started the 2017-18 season with Virgil van Dijk in their team.

During clandestine meetings held in the northern seaside resort of Blackpool that summer, Klopp had convinced the Dutchman to snub the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea in order to lead the revolution he was overseeing at Anfield.

Unfortunately, that information was then clumsily leaked to the press, prompting a furious reaction from Southampton, who felt they already had evidence that their player had effectively been tapped up, including a text message seen by a club physio.

Liverpool were subsequently forced to publicly apologise and withdraw their interest in a statement on the club’s official website.

Ultimately, though, that misstep only resulted in a £75m move being delayed until January, by which point relations between the two clubs had thawed.

To say Van Dijk was worth the wait would be some understatement; he has gone on to cement himself as arguably the best defender in the world since, all while winning the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.

The Netherlands international is not just a remarkable defender, he also makes those around him better, all while showing off his incredible passing range and chipping in with goals.

And the scale of the 29-year-old’s influence at Liverpool is sure to be emphasised in his absence this season, as he sits out a large part of the campaign due to a serious knee injury.

Although talk of an early return has already begun, Liverpool won’t rush Van Dijk’s recovery simply because they know how important he can be for the years to come.

If he picks up where he left off at Anfield, then more trophies and individual accolades are sure to follow.

Major Trophies2

Runner-up: Andy Robertson, Hull to Liverpool, £8m

Andy Robertson’s arrival at Liverpool was both far less dramatic and far less costly than Van Dijk’s, but he has been just as big a part of the club’s recent success.

Brought in from Hull City for an £8m fee that was effectively covered by Kevin Stewart’s move in the opposite direction, the Scot actually struggled to get into Klopp’s team in his first few months at Anfield.

But an ankle injury to Alberto Moreno in Decmeber provided an opportunity that Robertson grasped with both hands, kickstarting what was been a dream Reds career thus far.

Though he is a tenacious one-on-one defender capable of shutting down his flank, it is the 26-year-old’s delivery from wide areas that has marked him out as one of Europe’s best full-backs.

Robertson has provided 28 assists since the start of the 2018/19 Premier League season as he has helped redefine the role of wide defender alongside his partner in crime Trent Alexander-Arnold.

His signing represents one of the smartest pieces of business by an English club in recent memory.

Runner-up: Mohamed Salah, AS Roma to Liverpool, £38m

Liverpool’s recruitment staff actually had to convince Klopp that Mohamed Salah was the right signing as he looked to boost his attacking options in the summer of 2017.

Something of a streaky goalscorer in Italy and a flop at Chelsea years before, there were question marks over the Egyptian when he left AS Roma to make his return to England.

But those were quickly erased as the forward put together an unforgettable 44-goal debut season at Anfield that saw him set a new Premier League goalscoring record of 32.

Another Premier League golden boot, a league title, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup later, and it would be fair to say that Klopp is unlikely to ever doubt the word of the Reds’ transfer team ever again.

Salah is, without doubt, one of the best forwards in the world, and one of the best signings the Premier League has seen.