Maguire must ignore price tag: van Dijk

LONDON • Harry Maguire will come under the microscope like never before, says Virgil van Dijk, after his £80 million (S$134.8 million) move from Leicester to Manchester United made him the world's most expensive defender.

The Liverpool centre-back preceded the England international as the costliest defender in history after moving from Southampton for £75 million last January.

But after United eclipsed that mark on Monday, van Dijk said that while the price tag was not something Maguire, 26, had any influence over, there would be no escaping the attention it would bring.

He would have to tune out the noise if he is to handle the increased scrutiny and expectations, noted van Dijk. "The price comes with pressure, but it doesn't change too much because you always have pressure at big clubs like United. It's not easy to completely shut off all the pressure."

Van Dijk has been a transformative presence for Liverpool, helping them win the Champions League last season and finishing just a point behind champions Manchester City in the Premier League.

But the Netherlands captain revealed being able to keep things in perspective helped him cope with his gargantuan transfer fee and the odd wind-up from opponents.

"Quite a lot of things are more important than playing football," the 28-year-old added. "You need to enjoy it, but the pressure will always be there.

"Just focus on doing what you love to do and play your best game. Get your qualities out on the pitch, enjoy your game and don't think about the other things.

"If opponents have a go during the game because you cost that much, what can you do? I'm not listening to them. It does not change anything in my head."

Liverpool kick off their league campaign at home to promoted Norwich on Friday, while United host Chelsea on Sunday.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2019, with the headline 'Maguire must ignore price tag: van Dijk'. Print Edition | Subscribe