Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has poured cold water on reports that he has agreed a new long-term deal with the club.
Earlier this month, The Mirror reported that the 28-year-old had agreed a new six-year, £200,000-a-week contract at Anfield.
However, according to Sky Sports, Van Dijk has said that he is not currently in contract discussions and is instead focused solely on the Reds’ upcoming fixtures, starting with the Premier League visit to Chelsea on Sunday.
Van Dijk’s current standing in world football is reflected in his status as UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, while he has also been nominated for this year’s FIFA Best Men’s Player award along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as per FIFA.com.
His performances for Liverpool have attracted attention from elite clubs around Europe, with Spanish outlet AS reporting that both Barcelona and Real Madrid have eyes on signing him to bolster their centre-back options.
As noted by The Irish Mirror, Liverpool have successfully negotiated new deals for several first team players over the last 18 months, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez all agreeing new contracts with the club in that time.
Therefore, the Reds may feel confident of securing Van Dijk’s long-term future at Anfield, although several ex-Liverpool players haven’t been able to resist the overtures of the aforementioned La Liga pair in the past.
Real Madrid brought Michael Owen to the Spanish capital in 2004, with Xabi Alonso making the same move five years later. Back as far as 1999, Steve McManaman swapped Anfield for Madrid.
Alonso and Suarez both left Anfield immediately after Premier League title challenges, but the Reds were nowhere near becoming champions at the time of the others’ departures. However, they are now the reigning Champions League holders and are setting the early pace in the Premier League.
History suggests that Liverpool often find it difficult to keep high-profile players in the wake of interest from clubs such as Barcelona and Real Madrid.
However, by tying down seven important players in recent months who made a combined 307 appearances between them (43.86 each on average) last season, it seems that the Reds’ prized assets now view Anfield as the pinnacle of their careers rather than a stop on the way to something better.
With nearly four years left on Van Dijk’s current deal, there is no need for Liverpool to rush into contract negotiations, while their status as European champions and promising start to the season suggests that this is a club where players can win silverware, which should help convince Van Dijk to further commit to the Reds.
Liverpool fans, are you concerned about Van Dijk’s denial of new contract talks or do you think he’ll sign new terms in due course? Have your say by commenting below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!