Liverpool have taken a major step towards the record signing of Virgil van Dijk after the player indicated he would prefer a move to Anfield.
The Reds have been locked for several weeks in a battle with Manchester City and Chelsea over the Southampton defender, who has become one of the Premier League's most sought-after players.
Now it appears Liverpool have won the race to sign the man Jurgen Klopp has pinpointed as his main transfer target this summer.
No deal has yet been reached with Southampton, with the Saints demanding at least £50million for the Holland international.
Van Dijk's former club Celtic are due 10% of the transfer fee as part of the deal that saw him move to the South Coast for £13million in 2015.
Personal terms have also yet to be finalised with the player, but Liverpool are willing to match the financial packages offered by both City and Chelsea.
Liverpool have refused to comment on speculation surrounding the player.
But a significant hurdle has been overcome with van Dijk prepared to reject overtures from both City and Chelsea in favour of a move to Anfield.
It's understood the Dutchman and his representatives have been hugely impressed by Klopp's enthusiasm and vision for Liverpool, with van Dijk considered a player who can instantly improve the defence.
Like City and Chelsea, Liverpool can offer Champions League football – provided they can negotiate a play-off tie in August – and the presence of Klopp as manager is said to appeal to Van Dijk.
While there is plenty of work to be done to complete the deal, the fact van Dijk is set on a move to Anfield will act as a huge fillip for the Reds as they embark on a major recruitment drive this summer.
Liverpool remain in the hunt for RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, while discussions have taken place with Roma over a deal for Mohamed Salah.
The Reds had a £28m bid rejected last week after which no new talks have taken place, with Liverpool now considering alternatives should a deal not materialise.
Source: Liverpool Echo
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