After an embarrassing debacle in their pursuit of Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool are reportedly turning their sights towards Stefan De Vrij to bolster their defence.
Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp are reportedly putting the Virgil van Dijk saga behind them and are already eyeing a potential pursuit of fellow Dutchman Stefan De Vrij, according to Sky Sports Italia, as claimed by Football Italia.
De Vrij runs out of contract next summer and his apparent reluctance to sign an extension has fueled speculation of an exit. With Klopp’s Liverpool Champions League bound and on the look-out for a defender, the 25-year-old looks eager to swap loyalties should a club of the Merseysiders’ pedigree turn up at his door.
That said, the Reds have reportedly already had a £17 million bid for the player rejected by Lazio as the Italian club are commanding a price in excess of £30 million for the Dutchman.
Club President Claudio Lotito believed that Liverpool’s bid fell well short of the figure they were expecting for the player. Lazio were clearly not letting the player’s contract stand-off come in their way of profiting from his potential sale.
In retrospect, it hasn’t been the greatest week for Liverpool in the transfer window as a professional goof-up has potentially cost them a major transfer target in Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk.
Although the prospects of revisiting the player for his signature are being discussed, boss Jurgen Klopp isn’t willing to wait as he has already decided to move ahead and sound out his van Dijk’s fellow countryman in a bid to add more depth to a thin back-line.
De Vrij has more international experience than the Southampton starlet with 30 caps for the Orange, as compared to van Dijk’s 12, with a World Cup appearance to show for in the 2014 showpiece event in Brazil. Since moving to Lazio in the summer of 2014 the Dutchman has completed only 71 appearances with injuries plaguing his second year at the Roman club.
That said, there is no questioning the player’s defensive solidity with his 6 ft 3 inch towering figure proving to be a menacing presence at the back for opposition attackers.
Liverpool shipped as high as 42 goals in the league last year, the highest among the top 4 teams. Had that number been even a fraction lesser, the Reds may have been talking of a higher league finish. Whether De Vrij fits the van Dijk mould is unknown as the Dutchman isn’t a proven figure in the Premier League game.
In fact, it is further unclear if the Reds will venture into a potential club record fee for a defender, one that was never a priority signing prior to the goof-up with van Dijk’s transfer. However, should all possible doors for the Southampton star’s signature shut down, Liverpool may well be resigned to pursue the Lazio centre-back.