'Van Dijk's form has ended talk of £75m fee' – Wijnaldum hails Liverpool & Netherlands team-mate
A man who plays alongside Van Dijk for club and country has talked up the defender’s ability and the impact he has made since arriving at Anfield
Virgil van Dijk has been so impressive for Liverpool that “nobody speaks about the fee anymore”, says Georginio Wijnaldum.
Eyebrows were raised when the Reds invested a record-breaking £75 million ($95m) in the Netherlands international back in January.
As the world’s costliest defender, big things were expected of Van Dijk at Anfield.
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However, he has not disappointed and his presence has been credited with helping push Liverpool into the Premier League title picture.
No longer are questions asked of an inflated price tag claims fellow Dutchman Wijnaldum, who has suggested it is a clear indication that performances have silenced any doubters.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “Virgil has fitted in so well. He’s a player I knew before from our time together in the Netherlands squad.
“When he signed there was a lot of talk about the transfer fee but he didn’t decide that, Southampton and Liverpool decided that. Every player has a price tag. Of course it brought a lot of pressure for him but he has handled it so well.
“Nobody speaks about the fee anymore. Everybody says that he was a massive transfer for us because he has helped us so much.
“People always question transfers when a club spends a lot of money but Virgil has backed it up with performances. I knew he would do really well – he’s so strong in the air and comfortable in possession. He’s always talking and is a leader back there.”
Wijnaldum added on another big-money recruit – £65m ($82m) goalkeeper Alisson: “[He] also settled in very quickly. He’s cool, he’s full of confidence. It’s good because he has already helped us a lot.
“He’s excellent with the ball at his feet and that helps us football-wise to create an extra free man at times. He has also made some very important saves. You want to play with top players and there are a lot of those here.”
There is the promise of more spending to come from Liverpool and, having already seen Fabinho and Naby Keita join the midfield ranks, Wijnaldum insists he has no issue with further reinforcement.
He said: “You have to embrace it [competition] and realise that’s how it has to be. If you look at our rivals, it’s no different. Manchester City have a massive squad with world class players sitting on the bench every week.
“If you want to play for a big club, you have to accept having that kind of competition. If a midfielder playing elsewhere has a great season, there’s a good chance that Liverpool will try to sign him. That’s just the way it is. There is no point worrying about who might come in and take your place, you just have to focus on your own job and doing the best you can every day.
“Every top club wants to keep progressing. It suits a club like Liverpool to have a big squad because it’s one of the biggest in Europe. If you look at the amount of games we’re playing, you can’t just have a squad of 18 players. You won’t make it to the finish fit and fresh.
“Keita and Fabinho are both quality players who are helping take the team forward and I’m happy they’re here. Having that competition keeps you concentrated. You can’t ever slacken off.”