Virgil van Dijk is a professional Dutch football player, widely considered as one of the best central defenders in the world. He was born on July 8th, 1991 in Breda, Netherlands. Van Dijk spent a part of his youth career at Willem II, during which time he earned his living as a part-time dishwasher. In 2010, he joined youth ranks at Groningen where his professional career took off.
Although he struggled to move into the senior squad at the club for a while, once he got in the first team he never looked back. He also suffered a serious setback in his first season in the Groningen’s first team because he became seriously ill due to kidney poisoning and peritonitis. By his own admission, he was close to dying.
Van Dijk spent three years at Groningen before he moved to Celtic in 2013. With Celtic, he won two league titles and was named in the league’s Team of the Year before moving on to the English Premier League and Southampton. He was at Southampton for two full seasons, after which he became one of the main transfer targets for Liverpool.
He joined the Reds in January of 2017 and has remained with the club ever since. Van Dijk was one of the leaders of the team that managed to bring the title back to Anfield after 30 years in 2020, one year after winning the Champions League with Liverpool.
He has won many individual awards, including PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season. He also finished as a runner-up for the Ballon d'Or in 2019. The central defender is the cornerstone and the captain of the Dutch national team for which he recorded 38 appearances so far.
Virgil van Dijk Transfers and Rumours
- 2010: Willem II to Groningen – Free Transfer
- 2013: Groningen to Celtic – £2.5 million
- 2015: Celtic to Southampton – £14 million
- 2017: Southampton to Liverpool – £76 million
Virgil van Dijk started his youth career at Willem II and moved to Groningen on a free transfer when he was just 19 years old. After establishing himself as a starter in the Dutch team, transfer gossip started to buzz around his name and he eventually moved to Celtic in 2015 for a fee of £2.5 million.
Van Dijk further improved his reputation in Scotland and his transfer odds were growing after only a year at the club. He stayed with Celtic for another season before joining Southampton for a fee of £14 million. There were transfer rumours about Manchester City being interested as well but they weren’t as interested as the Saints obviously.
Finally, after proving himself at Southampton, football whispers were heard about his next destination. Liverpool already tried to bring him to Anfield at the summer of 2017 but the transfer never materialized. There was also some interest from Manchester United and Chelsea. However, Van Dijk remained Liverpool’s top target and he rattled the transfer news when he finally joined the Reds in the next transfer window – his transfer worth around £76 million was the highest ever for a defender at the time. Judging by his career at Anfield, the move certainly paid off for Liverpool.