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Liverpool signed Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk on Wednesday for a reported £75m in a deal that makes him the world’s most expensive defender, according to Reuters.

Van Dijk has been linked with a move to Liverpool for several months and the Anfield club were forced to issue an apology after an alleged illegal approach for the Netherlands international earlier this year.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has remained determined to sign Van Dijk as he tries to shore up a leaky defence that has fatally damaged Liverpool’s Premier League title ambitions.

Although Chelsea and Manchester City were said to be interested in Van Dijk, Klopp has finally got his man on weekly wages of £180,000

“Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk,” a statement on the club’s website said.

“The Reds have agreed a deal with the south coast club, and the player himself, that will see the 26-year-old defender move to Anfield when the transfer window re-opens on January 1, 2018.

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“The Netherlands international will be assigned squad number four, upon his arrival at Liverpool.”

The previous world record transfer for a defender was the £54m Manchester City paid Tottenham for England right-back Kyle Walker in the close-season.

Saints confirmed that Liverpool’s offer had shattered the record, but didn’t reveal the exact fee.

“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,” a statement read.

A fee of £75m would also be level with Romelu Lukaku as the second most expensive transfer in Premier League history, behind only Manchester United’s £90m purchase of Paul Pogba.