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Jurgen Klopp wanted Virgil van Dijk in 2016 - and Gini Wijnaldum's unknown role in Liverpool transfer; The recently named UEFA Men's Player of the Year eventually joined Liverpool in January 2018.

Byline: Connor O'Neill

Liverpool star Gini Wijnaldum has opened up on how Jurgen Klopp was keen to know about Virgil van Dijk while the midfielder was in talks with the club over signing.

Wijnaldum joined theRedsin the summer of 2016 from Newcastle United for an initial [pounds sterling]23million, before his international team-mate followed him toAnfield18 months later, in a deal which saw Southampton claim a then-world record transfer fee for a defender.

Liverpoolhad initially pursuedVan Dijkin the summer of 2017, but despite the centre-back trying to force through a move by a handing in a transfer request, the Saints held firm and in the end secured themselves a huge [pounds sterling]75 million for the 28-year-old four months later.

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But now Wijnaldum has revealed that during his own talks withKloppover his proposed move to Merseyside, the German was also keen to hear his thoughts on the former Celtic man.

"Before I even joined Liverpool I had a meeting with Jurgen and during our talks he asked me about Virgil van Dijk," Wijnaldum, who is currently on international duty with Holland,

"I had always rated Virgil very highly and my exact words to Jurgen were, 'He is going to make the defence a lot better'.

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"So I was not surprised when Virgil won the UEFA Best Player award ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. I actually expected him to win it.

"Virgil has had a blinder of a season and has been so successful. Nothing about him surprises me any more."


Credit: (Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Virgil Van Dijk and Georgina Wijnaldum with the European Cup

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Crosby Herald (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 9, 2019
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