LONDON – Liverpool announced on Wednesday that they signed an accord with Southampton to obtain defender Virgil van Dijk for £75 million ($100.49 million), a world-record fee for a defensive player.
The 26-year-old Dutch international will join the Reds on Jan. 1, the official start of the winter transfer window.
“Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk,” the team said on its Web site.
Van Dijk, who joined Southampton from Celtic in September 2015, signed a new six-year contract with the south coast club last year, but submitted a transfer request at the start of the 2017-2018 Premier League season.
Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp had long wanted Van Dijk for the team and the effort to bring the defender to Merseyside took on additional urgency in recent weeks as Manchester City and Chelsea expressed interest in acquiring the Dutchman.
The transfer fee for Van Dijk is the second-largest ever paid by a Premier League club, topped only by the £90 million Manchester United paid in 2016 for Paul Pogba.
“Delighted and honored to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player! Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football!” Van Dijk said in a statement.