Liverpool supporters have been pretty jubilant in the Transfer Tavern over the past few weeks, what with their side well placed in domestic and European competition to go on and achieve success in the second half of the season.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are very much in top four contention in the Premier League after a long unbeaten run dating back to October, while they reached the fourth round of the FA Cup earlier this month with a 2-1 success over Merseyside rivals Everton, thus keeping their chances alive of lifting the trophy for the first time since 2006. And following progression as winners of Group E in the Champions League, the Merseysiders faces a winnable clash with Porto in the last 16 next month, leaving many of our resident Liverpudlians excited and optimistic about what the future could hold for their side.
In the meantime though, there has been plenty for those Reds fans lining up at the bar to get their teeth into, not least recent reports outlining that reported target Stefan de Vrij has a €25 million release clause on his new Lazio contract, a contract expected to be agreed imminently.
The 25-year-old has performed brilliantly at the heart of their backline ever since his move there back in 2014, and has unsurprisingly been attracting interest from many top European clubs in recent times, namely Barcelona, Juventus, and of course Liverpool.
And although he is out of contract at the end of the season, it looks like a new one will be agreed with Lazio yet with a €25 million release clause, which is money the Reds must seek to pay to further strengthen their backline, and thus strengthen their Premier League title challenge in years to come.
Ultimately, Liverpool’s issues aren’t going forward but at the back, be it with unconvincing goalkeeping duo of Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius, or the often individual errors made by the likes of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, to name but a few.
Yes, the signing of Virgil Van Dijk is no doubt going to make the Reds better defensively as he is head and shoulders above the other defenders at the club, but one man isn’t necessarily going to sort it out all on his own.
The likes of Lovren and Matip may well become better players alongside the towering Dutchman, but there will always be concerns, based on their efforts so far, against some of the division’s better forwards, the sort of forwards Liverpool will have to stop if they are to win the title.
And that’s why a partner for Van Dijk at the heart of their backline, someone like De Vrij, is crucial in their title hopes for the coming campaigns. And the £31.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) could well be that man given his impressive efforts for Lazio in the last few years.
While not as tall and perhaps as authoritative as Van Dijk, the 25-year-old is extremely comfortable on the ball and often makes the right decisions off it, with his tackling and concentration of the highest order – it’s pretty obvious in the way he plays that he was once a midfielder.
And at just €25 million, there will not be many defenders out there as good as he is for as little as that.
Between he and Van Dijk, the duo would have pretty much everything required of a strong centre-back partnership in the Premier League, both on and off the ball, and while there will be obvious concerns given he has never played in England before, he appears to be a better option than the other centre-backs at Anfield.
And if Liverpool are serious about challenging for the title in the next few years, they need a firm base in the heart of the defence – they are halfway there with Van Dijk, yet landing De Vrij would get them there.
And for as little as €25 million, it’s a no brainer, and a deal they must seek to clinch ahead of Barcelona and Juventus.
Liverpool fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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