Arsenal boss Unai Emery has name dropped Liverpool manager Virgil van Dijk when explaining the effect signings can have on a team.
The Dutchman has been a hugely successful signing for Liverpool since joining from Southampton last season, and the Gunners’ boss wants to replicate that success for himself.
Speaking to Goal, he said: “I have big respect for our work, for our players in the academy. I want to develop the players here – giving them progress to achieve something at a big club like we are.
“We can also achieve [buy] some players who are in other teams, who can come here and give us this performance – like Van Dijk with Liverpool.”
It says a lot that van Dijk has come to be viewed as the yardstick against which all transfers seem to be measure now. The fee paid for the Dutchman raised a fair few eyebrows last season, but that £75 million now looks like one of the soundest investments of the Premier League era, and if he can help carry the Reds to a first league title in 29 years then it will look like an even better outlay. Van Dijk is clearly a very special player, and so Emery’s comments, as nice as they might be, are going to be a lot easier said than done. Everybody wants to sign a van Dijk, but getting a player like him is always going to be a tall, tall task. The issue Arsenal will have is that they are never keen to spend the kind of fees that a player like van Dijk commands, but Liverpool have proven this year that you have to speculate if you wish to accumulate.