Virgil Van Dijk has told Southampton he wants to join Liverpool in a major twist to the long-running transfer saga regarding the Dutch defender. The Reds abandoned attempts to sign the 26-year-old after being reported to the Premier League and an alleged illegal approach but could yet end up acquiring the centre-back.

Van Dijk signed a new contract in May 2016, a deal which still has five years to run. A move to take him from St Mary's will cost around £60m and force the Merseysiders to smash their transfer record to bring him to Anfield.

The Mirror understand Van Dijk is fearful of missing out on a £50m pay day and only wants to join Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp's side escaped having to make just an apology after they were accused of breaking the rules in attempts to sign Van Dijk earlier this summer, but the player's desire to join them appears clear.

Liverpool have signed just two players during the summer transfer window, with Klopp preferring 'quality of quantity'. Dominic Solanke and Mohamed Salah have arrived ahead of the new campaign but improvements to other areas of the squad have been few and far between.

No team inside the Premier League's top four conceded more times than Liverpool last term, who shipped 42 goals last season. Injury and lack of form meant Klopp was unable to select a settled centre-back pairing, but the arrival of Van Dijk would likely add some much-needed continuity to the position.

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol says the deal makes sense for the club but only at the right price. "If the price is right then yes," he told ESPN FC. "If the price is right, which I hope is not £60m, because I don't think he's worth £60m. Liverpool need a centre-back, I guess sometimes you have to do what you have to do."

"Whether the valuation is correct or not, Liverpool need a centre-back. He is a good player, the question is can he deliver at Liverpool? He did it at Southampton, can he do it at one of the big boys? I don't know."

Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk has not played since January but has developed into one of the league's best defenders. Getty Images