Liverpool announce deal to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton

Liverpool have agreed to a club-record deal to sign Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk.

The club posted a picture on their website of the Netherlands defender holding a Liverpool jersey, and said that he will join the team when the transfer window reopens Monday.

A source close to Liverpool said the fee for the deal was £75 million, which would make van Dijk the most expensive transfer in club history and also constitute a record fee for a defender. Van Dijk will wear the No. 4 shirt upon his arrival at Anfield.

Southampton also confirmed the deal, announcing: "Southampton have agreed a fee that will set a new world-record for a defender. The club wishes Virgil well in his future when the deal is completed on January 1st 2018.''

Van Dijk wrote on Instagram: "Delighted and honoured 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!"

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes the record fee will prove money well spent if Van Dijk helps the Reds to more success.

"Rio Ferdinand went to Manchester United, for I think just over £30m, but he repaid that. He was Manchester United's top centre-back, won trophies and was there for 10 years,'' Carragher said on Sky Sports.

"That's what Van Dijk has to do -- take Liverpool to trophies and be Liverpool's main, No. 1, centre-back for the next decade or so.''

The deal will eclipse the £54m spent by Manchester City to sign England full-back Kyle Walker from Tottenham during the summer and sees a protracted saga reach its end.

Liverpool had held a long-standing interest in the Netherlands defender and wanted to sign him in the summer until they were forced to publicly apologise to Southampton amid tapping-up allegations.

Speculation had been rife regarding van Dijk's future after he was absent from the matchday squad for Southampton's past two games.

Van Dijk's move from Southampton to Liverpool is the sixth transfer between the clubs in the last 3½ years, with other players trading St Mary's for Anfield including Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane.