Liverpool have broken the world record for a defender by ousting Manchester City to wrap up the signing of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in a £75 million deal.
The Netherlands international had been expected to join the Reds last summer after he handed in a transfer request.
Negotiations speedily progressed between the sides after a long process of the Reds repairing the relationship with their counterparts following a tapping-up saga in June that drew a public apology and the Saints refusing to sanction his sale.
The agreed fee for Van Dijk is a world-record sum for a defender, topping Manchester City’s deal to sign Kyle Walker in July
The centre-back, who has remained Jurgen Klopp’s priority target since the summer and opted to move to Anfield back then as well, will officially join Liverpool on January 1.
“I can’t wait to pull on the famous red shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have to try and help this great club achieve something special in the years to come,” he said.
“Southampton have agreed a fee that will set a new world record for a defender,” the south coast club confirmed on Wednesday.
The player only signed a new six-year contract last year, having joined the Saints from Celtic for £13m in September 2015.
Van Dijk’s former club Celtic will benefit from the record transfer fee – the Scottish champions are understood to have had a 10% sell-on agreement on any future deal.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Les Reed, the board, manager, players, fans and everyone at Southampton.
“I will always be indebted to the club for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League and despite a difficult last few months, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saints and have made friends for life at the club.”