Liverpool set to hand Virgil van Dijk a new £200k-a-week contract to fend off interest

According to the Express, Liverpool are set to hand Virgil van Dijk a new £200k-a-week contract as they look to fend off interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid, in a deal that would see the centre-back join Mohamed Salah as the club’s top earner.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Dutchman has emerged as arguably the most important player at the club since arriving in a world-record £75m switch from Southampton at the start of last year.

Van Dijk has swiftly transformed the Reds’ previously flimsy backline into the most formidable defence in the Premier League – no player has been involved in more English top-flight clean sheets than the 27-year-old since his arrival (23).

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This season, the former Celtic man has helped Liverpool to keep 17 clean sheets in 30 games, conceding just 17 goals in that time – no team has a better defensive record in the current campaign.

Setting the tone for Premier League clubs to follow

The Reds have excelled recently at keeping their star names happy and ensuring that they tie them down to long-term contracts for the prime years of their career.

Liverpool have secured the futures of players such as Andrew Robertson, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez, and in doing so, are really showing up the likes of Arsenal, who are losing their best players for reduced sums or for no fee at all far too often.

The Gunners are set to lose Aaron Ramsey to Juventus this summer after failing to agree a new deal with the Welshman, whilst they also lost their talisman Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United in 2018 for nothing – he may not have performed well for the Red Devils, but the point still stands.

Given Real Madrid’s obvious issues this season and their woeful form to boot, along with Barcelona’s desire to hoover up Europe’s best performers after their capture of Frenkie de Jong, it seems inevitable that the two Spanish giants will come hunting for the Premier League’s best to continue strengthening.

In that respect, the Merseyside-based club are doing their bit to fend off those who look to rob England’s top-flight of its best talent, and are setting an example that the rest of the league should be following.

Liverpool are being proactive in the market and ensuring that they cannot be held to ransom if things start to go sour, and are leading the way ahead of their rivals in managing their assets.