Cody Gakpo highlighted Virgil van Dijk’s influence on his decision to join Liverpool after the Reds formally confirmed his arrival from PSV on Wednesday.
The Netherlands international has signed for Jurgen Klopp’s side in a move reportedly worth an initial £37million (€42m) on the back of an impressive World Cup campaign.
Gakpo’s arrival on Merseyside is a major boost for Klopp’s men and a blow to rivals Manchester United, where the forward had been heavily tipped to join his countryman Erik ten Hag.
Speaking to Liverpool’s website after sealing his transfer, Gakpo said it was another Dutchman who helped convince him he was making the right call in moving to Anfield.
“At the moment I was calling [in] with the coach, he came into the office and saw me,” Gakpo said of Van Dijk. “We chatted a little bit. We spoke a lot over the phone [in] the last days.
“What he told me was that this is the right move for me to make and for me to develop and to become a better player, that the club is massive, but also like a real family.
“I think that’s also very important for me because I’m a family guy. He said only good things. I’m happy that he’s here, so he can help me with some stuff. I’m really grateful to be here.”
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Amid injuries to Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota, Gakpo’s arrival offers a major offensive boost to Liverpool, with the 23-year-old having scored nine goals and provided 12 assists in 14 Eredivisie games this season.
Klopp could not hide his delight at getting the move over the line, saying: “It really is great news for us that we have been able to do it.
“The work that has gone into this has been really impressive and in the end, we have managed to sign a player who we have known about for quite some time and who we believe will have a bright future with us.
“There is a lot to like about Cody. He is still only 23 years old, but he already has a lot of experience.
“We know he is a smart footballer and a smart person, so we are excited to be able to work with him.”