Liverpool signed Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk on Wednesday for a reported £75 million ($100 million, 84 million euros) in a deal that makes him the world’s most expensive defender.
Van Dijk has been linked with a move to Liverpool for several months and the Anfield club was forced to issue an apology after an alleged illegal approach to the Netherlands international earlier this year.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has remained determined to sign Van Dijk as he tries to shore up a leaky defence that has fatally damaged Liverpool’s Premier League title ambitions.
“Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player,” Van Dijk wrote on Twitter, alongside a photo of him with a Liverpool shirt.
“Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football.
“I can’t wait to pull on the famous red shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have to try and help this great club achieve something special in the years to come.”
Although Chelsea and Manchester City were said to be interested in Van Dijk, Klopp has finally got his man on weekly wages of £180,000.
“Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk,” a statement on the club’s website said.
“The Reds have agreed on a deal with the south coast club, and the player himself, that will see the 26-year-old defender move to Anfield when the transfer window re-opens on January 1, 2018.”
The previous world record transfer for a defender was the £54 million Manchester City paid Tottenham for England right-back Kyle Walker in the close season.
Saints confirmed that Liverpool’s offer had shattered the record, but didn’t reveal the exact fee.