The whole Virgil van Dijk episode has brought disappointment more than anything to the entire Liverpool fan base. After a decent season which ended in securing Champions League football, this summer was looked at with baited breath by the Reds. It also started on a positive note as they were reportedly said to be close to agreeing to deals for Mohammad Salah and Virgil van Dijk. Both the deals are still in the air as the tapping of van Dijk has resulted in embarrassment for the Liverpool hierarchy.
Van Dijk seems to be off limits for Liverpool now which means that it is time for the contingency plan to take over in order to sign a centre-back. It isn’t the case that all hope should be lost after missing out on the Dutch defender.
There are many able central defenders in Europe who can prove to be an astute buy for Liverpool in the coming months. So without wasting further time, let’s take a closer look at the three alternatives for Virgil van Dijk who can be targeted by Jürgen Klopp based on the availability and the playing style of the players in focus:
#1 Stefan De Vrij
The Lazio main man is considered as one of the best foreign imports in Italy since the last World Cup as he has saved the Roman club time and again with his maturity of playing the game from the back and also with his tough tackling.
He fits the Liverpool style of play and can also offer to be a cheap option than van Dijk. Lazio want close to £30 million for the Dutchman who was selected in the 2014 World Cup team of the tournament. It was also reported that Liverpool had a bid rejected for De Vrij which means that the interest is real for the centre-back from the Reds this summer.
#2 Kalidou Koulibaly
Koulibaly has been one of the best players in Serie A for the past two years or so as his robust style of play coupled with his improvement with a ball at his feet has seen him get linked with a move to the likes of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
In the Premier League, Koulibaly can be deemed as a mixture of Eric Bailly and Virgil Van Dijk in his style of play and if the Reds are ready to pay £60 million for Van Dijk, they should definitely try and lure Koulibaly with a £50 million bid.
The thing which may go in Liverpool’s way is that Koulibaly and his Senegalese teammate, Sadio Mane are good friends which may help the Reds in this deal.
#3 Jerome Boateng
The German stalwart could move away from Bayern Munich as he started just 10 league games this past season. Chelsea have been linked with him but Liverpool should try and work out for a deal for him if the interest in Van Dijk is cooled down completely.
Signing Boateng will be a statement of intent as the World Cup winner can prove to be a marquee signing for the Reds and also add valuable experience in crunch games in the league and in Europe.