You still won’t find a player more important to Liverpool’s current title charge than Virgil van Dijk.
The Netherlands captain hasn’t missed a minute of action in the league or in Europe this season, reaffirming his reputation as the best defender on the planet, with an astonishing 53 clean sheets in 109 Liverpool appearances.
He’s the best in the business, so it’s easy to see why the Reds are so keen to tie him down long(er)-term and ensure he is the centre-piece of the defence for years to come.
But what do we know about his situation?
Liverpool’s New Contract Offer
As it stands, Van Dijk is contracted through 2023, although his current salary of £125,000 – the same as he has been earning since signing from Southampton – perhaps doesn’t quite reflect his pivotal importance by market rates.
90min revealed as far back as August that any new contract tabled to the Dutchman would see him double his wage packet, putting him roughly in line with top earner Mohamed Salah.
That information still stands as far as we know, with The Mirror now reporting that Liverpool will make an offer that could even make him the ‘highest-paid defender in world football’, after their accounts showed record-breaking financial results for 2018/19.
If the Mirror’s claim is true, Van Dijk’s new wage would have to be north of £300,000 a week – to surpass the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Thiago Silva.
It’s unclear how long that deal will run, but three-year deals seem to be the standard for players of his age group – so it’s likely he will see his stay extended by a year along with his hiked up salary, should he sign on the dotted line.
There have been some rumblings Juventus are keen on a £150m summer move, though these seem to originate from an ‘unnamed source’ at The Sun, so we’ll leave the conclusion-drawing up to you on that one.
If something was to go awry with contract talks, then a small window might open for this sort of opportunistic chancing, but there is no indication of that as yet. For now there likely isn’t a fee you could offer Liverpool that would tempt them to part with their defensive leader.
Vitolo, Virgil van Dijk
There was vague talk of Barcelona interest in the summer, though a clause left over from the infamous Philippe Coutinho deal means they would have to pay an extra €100m on top of any potential fee, which blows that one out of the water unless Barça lose their minds.
What Has Van Dijk Said?
The 28-year-old has so far been tight-lipped on his future, with hints that he ‘isn’t looking too far ahead’ driving some overthinkers into a state of mild panic and hysteria.
“I’m 28 now and I want to fulfil every dream I ever had,” he said earlier this year. “Life can be short. Your career can be short as well.
“I’m enjoying playing with this team and this manager. We can’t look too far ahead. But right now, I’m enjoying it.”
It’s perhaps not a massive stretch to draw that he is keeping his options open from those words, but in the same breath, it could hardly be further from conclusive. More concrete is James Pearce of The Athletic’s verdict that the player is ‘very happy’ in his current surroundings, and neither he or the club feel there is any need to rush a new deal over the line.
Pearce notes, in fact, that the primary motive of a new deal is to reward the player’s development, with the extension of his stay simply a by-product. That’s indicative of the Reds’ unerring confidence that the player won’t be leaving any time soon.