Van Dijk 'delighted and honoured' to join Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk's move from Southampton to Liverpool is the sixth transfer between the clubs in the last 3½ years, with other players trading St Mary's for Anfield including Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane.

The 26-year-old has endured a hard season at St Mary's Stadium but nonetheless insists he will "always be indebted" to his old club after spending more than two years on England's south coast.

In what has been an incredibly drawn-out transfer saga for both clubs and the fans involved, Liverpool will now be hopeful that the introduction of the Dutch defender can help them alleviate their defensive woes.

Van Dijk, who has never hidden his admiration for Liverpool, said in a statement he was "delighted and honoured" to sign.

Dembele has been linked with clubs in the Premier League, Ligue 1 and Serie A in advance of the January window opening.

Southampton had threatened to report Liverpool over their original pursuit of Van Dijk amid claims that the player had been "tapped up" by the club.

"Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football!"

Van Dijk's former club Celtic, who sold the player to Southampton for £13m in September 2015, will benefit from the record transfer fee.

The upfront fee is said to be £70m, with an extra £5m in addons, making Van Dijk the most expensive defender in the history of the sport.

Liverpool are now fourth in the league table, while Southampton on 14th.

Although the exact details of the transfer have not been announced, Saints confirmed the fee "will set a new world record for a defender".

In return, Liverpool have forked out STG283 million ($A555 million) to the Saints.

While there is no doubting the quality of the Dutch global, the size of the fee for a player who has not been performing at his very best this season may still raise a few eyebrows.

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