Liverpool are lining up a new contract for Virgil Van Dijk rather than attempting to sign a defender this month, according to reports.
Van Dijk hasn’t played for the Reds since October after rupturing a cruciate ligament in the Merseyside derby.
He is expected to be out for a while longer, but that hasn’t stopped club chiefs from preparing a new deal.
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According to journalist Fabrizio Romano (via The Independent), Liverpool will offer Van Dijk a new contract in the next few months.
Speaking to CBS Sports, Romano said: “Liverpool are focused on the return of Virgil Van Dijk. The board has plans to offer the Dutch defender the renewal of the contract, and the negotiations will begin in the coming months.”
The player’s current deal expires in June 2023 and earns him a reported £180,000 a week.
That means a new contract could exceed the £200,000 mark, making him one of the top paid players at Anfield.
Thiago Alcantara and Mohamed Salah both reportedly earn over £210,000 a week.
Liverpool will want to extend his contract to at least 2024. Van Dijk could finish his career at Anfield if the deal works out well for all parties.
It looks like the Anfield club will prioritise a new contract for their star defender rather than bringing in a new player.
They’ve been linked with a host of new centre backs, including Dayot Upamecano and Ben White.
A £70 million deal for Upamecano during the January transfer window is unlikely. Liverpool have tracked White for some time now and might have to pay around £50 million to sign the Englishman.
Van Dijk could return to the first team by March if his progress is anything to go by. That would be a huge boost for manager Jurgen Klopp. The German has had play midfielder Fabinho in his position alongside Joel Matip.