EXCLUSIVE

Liverpool director of football Michael Edwards is always “one step ahead” after reportedly agreeing new Virgil van Dijk deal, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds United and Coventry City striker hailed the Anfield hierarchy for moving quickly to wrap up new contract negotiations with the PFA player of the year.

The Mirror claim that Van Dijk has agreed a “massive new contract” that will hike his wages from £125,000-a-week to £200,000-a-week.

It is said that talks between the defender and Liverpool have been successfully concluded since they started earlier in the summer.

“Hats off to Liverpool if they’ve tie him down,” Whelan told Football Insider. “Liverpool realise they have to give Van Dijk a better deal to keep him, that’s how football business is done.

“To keep any top player happy, you have to pay them what they’re worth. No-one can say Van Dijk isn’t worth a top salary. He’s a great defender, probably the best in the world.

“Michael Edwards has got a lot of credit for Liverpool’s transfers and signings, but keeping the players you’ve got is just as important. It seems Edwards is always one step ahead.”

Van Dijk joined Liverpool in January of last year for a fee of £70million rising to a potential £75million, then a world record for a defender.

His current deal, which is topped up by bonuses for clean sheets and appearances, runs until the summer of 2023.

In other Liverpool news, it can be REVEALED that the club told a player to find a new team amid fears over dressing room harmony.