This article forms part of our Transfer Scenario feature, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at a recent transfer rumour and suggests what the potential consequences would be, should a deal be completed.
Would VDV leave Liverpool for Real Madrid?
Spanish outlet Diario Gol reported [via Caught Offside] that centre-back Virgil van Dijk is a firm transfer target for the La Liga club, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez seeking to strengthen their defensive options.
That the Bernabeu club have the 28-year-old in their sights should come as no great surprise, with him being included on the shortlist for the 2019 Ballon D’Or, along with winning the UEFA Best Men’s Player of the Year award for his performances in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph last season.
If Real Madrid were to make an offer that neither Liverpool or Van Dijk could ultimately refuse, what would it mean for the Reds? We identify some of the potential consequences below.
Loss of a colossus
Van Dijk may have cost Liverpool £75m from Southampton nearly two years ago (as per BBC), but the impact he has had at Anfield since then has shown why the Reds were willing to spend the big bucks to get their man.
He was at the heart of the Premier League’s best defence last season, with just 22 goals conceded in the division, a sharp decrease on the 38 from the previous campaign (28 of which came before Van Dijk’s league debut for Liverpool).
The Dutchman has been the Reds’ best passer from defence this season, with an 86.5% success rate, while his match average of 5.5 successful duels is bettered only by Joel Matip with 5.9 per game. [via WhoScored]
Van Dijk, the reigning PFA Player of the Year, has also made a telling impact at the other end of the pitch with eight goals in 90 Liverpool appearances – only five Reds players beat his six-goal tally last season.
Likely need for younger reinforcements
Van Dijk’s departure would leave Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez as Liverpool’s senior centre-back options.
While the versatile Gomez is still only 22, Matip is six years older and Lovren turned 30 in July, although the latter two have posted some impressive figures this season – Matip has match averages of 5.9 successful aerial duels, 1.7 tackles and 1.7 interceptions, with Lovren posting averages of 5.5 successful aerial duels, 1.3 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game. [via WhoScored]
They are both entering the latter stages of their respective careers, though, which could need Liverpool looking to bring in a younger alternative with some notable experience – teenager Sepp van den Berg is not yet ready for the step-up, with just two Carabao Cup appearances to his name in the Reds’ first team.
Possible addition of another Champions League winnerLike the Dutchman, all four have won the Champions League, having been involved in Real Madrid’s defeat of Liverpool in the 2018 showpiece in Kiev.
Bale and Modric are already in their 30s, though, while 27-year-old Isco – who has scored just six goals since the start of last season – may struggle to get into the Reds’ midfield now that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has hit his stride with four goals in as many games for Liverpool.
At 23 and with a respectable tally of six goals and nine assists in 2018/19, versatile attacker Asensio may be the most appealing option of the four. However, with a pre-season cruciate ligament injury set to keep him out until February at the earliest (according to TransferMarkt), it could be a while before the Spaniard is back to his best.
Should Liverpool refute any interest in Van Dijk from Real Madrid, no matter how much they may try to sweeten the deal by offering one of their players in return? Share your views in the comments section below!
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