Liverpool to sign Southampton's defender for a record breaking free

But the move fell through when Liverpool were forced to make a public apology after being accused of making an illegal approach for the player.

It was revealed today that Southampton have agreed a fee with Liverpool for the Dutch centre-back.

A report claims that Liverpool have beaten Manchester City and Chelsea to the signing of Virgil van Dijk, who will join from Southampton in a £75m deal next month.

Carragher believes Van Dijk must bring silverware to Anfield and says the 26-year-old must emulate former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who previously held the title of the world's most expensive defender.

He was left out of Southampton's team for their 5-2 Premier League defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in their Boxing Day clash.

Van Dijk is the sixth player to sign for Liverpool from Southampton since 2014, following the path taken by Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne.

Writing on his official Instagram page, he said: "Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player!"

Liverpool had expressed an interest in the player last summer and were ready to offer 60 million pounds (80.40 million USA dollars).

"I will always be indebted to the club for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League".

"Thank you for all the messages of support".

"It is a lot of money and I'm not even sure he has been playing that well", Neville told Sky Sports. They'll need to get him back to his best for that money.

Van Dijk's first game is likely to be the FA Cup third round Merseyside derby with Everton.

  • Steve Townsend