Liverpool move closer to Virgil van Dijk deal after defender chooses Reds over Manchester City or Chelsea

Virgil van Dijk has indicated that he would prefer to sign for Liverpool than Manchester City or Chelsea, though a deal must first be struck with Southampton.

The in-demand centre-back has been subject to interest from the Reds, City and Premier League champions Chelsea after another fine season for the Saints but it is Merseyside that he has decided he would rather move to.

Yet despite the Dutchman's preference, Liverpool and Southampton are still some way from reaching a conclusion - with it as yet unknown what price the South Coast club will let their prized asset go for.

A £50 million fee has been touted for the 25-year-old leading up to the summer transfer window but Southampton could even ask for as much as £60 million with the deal potentially involving a world-record fee for a defender, the current highest £50 million that Chelsea paid for David Luiz last summer.

Van Dijk could even become the club's highest-paid player amidst rumours the Reds could hand him a hefty £200,000-a-week wage - though such reports are believed to be in response to City's interest, which some speculate was not as serious as believed in order to accelerate the transfer.

Talks will continue in the coming days and weeks in order to reach a conclusion, while personal terms have yet to be agreed - though Liverpool are prepared to match any of their rival offers.

Van Dijk convinced by Klopp

The defender made 30 appearances in all competitions last season, his season ended in late January due to an ankle ligament injury, and has made it clear to his current employers which club he would like to sign for.

That followed an excellent 2015-16 campaign, his first in England after joining Southampton from Celtic, in which he was crowned the Saints' Player of the Season after featuring in every game after his £13 million move from Glasgow.

Van Dijk would follow the well-trodden path in swapping Southampton for Liverpool, with Sadio Mané, Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert all having done so since the summer of 2014.

The signing of van Dijk would be a huge coup for Liverpool given the interest of other clubs and his stature as one of the Premier League's best defenders.

The former Celtic man - who still has five years left on his contract at St. Mary's - has been high on Klopp's list of targets and would significantly improve the German's options at the back.

It is also positive that Liverpool have shown a willingness to match the superior financial might of their top-four rivals for top targets, with it clear that the club must land them to progress next season.

The Reds boss is thought to have been influential in convincing van Dijk to reject the advances of other clubs, while Champions League football - should Liverpool progress past the two-legged play-off round in August - has also played a part in swaying him.

Liverpool will hope their high-profile manager can hope to convince other targets of his vision for the club, with negotiations for Roma's Mohamed Salah ongoing.

Liverpool are looking to agree a fee with the Italian club for the Egyptian winger after an opening £28 million bid was rejected, while RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keïta also remains a high priority signing though the Bundesliga outfit are determined not to sell.