Virgil van Dijk opens up on ‘honest’ transfer talks with Cody Gakpo

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has again played down his role in the club’s recruitment of Cody Gakpo, insisting he simply gave his Netherlands teammate an ‘honest opinion’ of the Reds.

After it long seemed like Gakpo would head to Manchester United, Liverpool moved swiftly to sign the forward shortly prior to the opening of the January transfer window.

Both Gakpo and Dutch co-star Van Dijk have admitted that they talked about a possible transfer before it was made official, though the defender has reiterated that the role he played in the deal was not a major one.

“It was just normal chats, it was not that I was trying to convince him but when the time was there I gave my honest opinion and that is something I can always do,” Van Dijk said.

“It’s very positive because I have been at this club for five years now and I have won every trophy with this beautiful club and I know how much it means – each one. To play under this manager and with these guys, it is a joy and something he will enjoy as well.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth in the latest episode of Talking Transfers. This week they discuss Man Utd’s interest in Mohammed Kudus, Enzo Fernandez and Chelsea, Jude Bellingham’s decision and Mykhaylo Mudryk’s preferred move. Available on all audio platforms.

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Speaking on why Gakpo will be a success at Liverpool, Van Dijk said: “He is a great player first and foremost but he is also a great guy, personality-wise. He will be great for the group. He is calm, as well and I think he can be very good for us. I feel like he will and he probably needs a bit of time. We will obviously give him that and hopefully our friends give him that too.

“I think he will handle [pressure] fine but you have no idea what it is like until you are under this sort of pressure.

“He will have to keep his head down and look at what we are doing as a group and listen to the manager, listen to the players around you and don’t listen too much to the outside world because you can be one of the best in the world one day and one of the worst the next. So it is never something in the middle, so he has to stay calm and I think he will do. He is that type of person. I will help him with that, if necessary.”

Gakpo is in line to make his Liverpool debut when they host Wolves in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.