Liverpool came close to forming ‘best pairing in Europe’ with defensive signing, claims Inter Milan star’s mentor

Liverpool were allegedly close to signing Stefan de Vrij when the Dutchman’s contract at Lazio came to an end, Ian Atkins told the Echo.

The former Everton player struck up a friendship with the now Inter Milan star after helping mentor the centre-half on his movement.

“I know at one point Liverpool were very interested,” the former Head of European Recruitment for Everton said. “Liverpool had spoken to him but came up with a great one to be fair, they just felt Van Dijk could play on the edge a little bit more than Stefan, and they were right because Klopp likes to squeeze and push to the halfway line and Van Dijk was a little bit more mobile. I said that to Stefan and he accepted it to be fair.”

“There was some interest in taking Stefan as well but that never materialised. If Liverpool would have signed De Vrij and Van Dijk they would have been the best pairing in Europe,” Atkins added. “I still watch all his games, we text and WhatsApp a lot. My Mrs never finds it funny when we’re watching Coronation Street and Stefan’s face pops up on a Skype call.”

The 29-year-old’s name is one that had previously popped up somewhat frequently in regards with a potential move to the red half of Merseyside, with Liverpool reportedly considering the Serie A star as a partner for our No.4.

Such an eventuality failed to occur, however, with the club sticking with Van Dijk alone from Southampton – a move, in combination with the signing of Alisson Becker, that completely transformed our fortunes on the pitch.

The idea of adding De Vrij to our already talented backline is certainly a mouthwatering prospect, though one that is unlikely to occur.

That being said, we are in desperate need of a defensive signing in the summer, should Ozan Kabak fail to impress sufficiently in the meantime, which may open the door for the Dutch international to be considered once more.