Manchester United legend Gary Neville has boldly claimed that Liverpool were perhaps forced into paying up to £75million to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.

The Reds announced on Wednesday that a deal has been agreed to sign van Dijk, 26, when the January transfer window opens up next week.

The Netherlands international is set to become the most expensive defender in world football after putting an end to one of the most drawn-out transfer sagas in recent Premier League history.

Southampton signed van Dijk from Celtic in 2015 for £12million and are set to make a very handsome profit on the centre-back, who has played just 12 times in the Premier League this season.

Sky Sports pundit Neville has now claimed that Jurgen Klopp needed better defenders in his Liverpool side and is not surprised that he has had to splash the cash to get in van Dijk.

“Liverpool need defenders and have to pay to get him. That’s the way the market is and it isn’t going to change,” he said, as quoted on the Sky Sports website.

He added: “Liverpool have to get the defence right, in the bigger matches they do stress quite quickly and can crack, so from their point of view, paying that sort of money hopefully it pays off, but for Southampton they would snap your hand off for £75m.”

Liverpool’s defence has been a clear weak-point in their side for the past few seasons and Klopp somehow failed to sign a single centre-back in the summer transfer window after seemingly putting all his eggs in one basket to sign van Dijk.

Southampton warned the Reds about their pursuit of the Dutchman, who eventually tried to hand in a transfer request in order to force an exit from St Mary’s.

In other Liverpool news, the Reds have sanctioned the exit of this attacker after terms were agreed with a top-flight club.

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