Liverpool warned Van Dijk has caused transfer problem that Man Utd have struggled with

Liverpool have been warned they will have to pay a premium for any defenders they want to sign during the January transfer window as a direct result of Virgil van Dijk’s injury, facing a similar issue to the one Manchester United did when they tried to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

Liverpool are believed to be on the hunt for a new centre-back ahead of the January transfer window.

Van Dijk suffered an ACL injury during Saturday’s Merseyside Derby, leaving him needing surgery on his knee.

He will likely miss at least seven months’ worth of football, and is unlikely to feature again this season.

As a result, Jurgen Klopp has been forced to form a makeshift defensive line-up for his side’s upcoming games, and played Fabinho at centre-back against Ajax on Wednesday night.

JUST IN: Liverpool suffer Virgil van Dijk injury blow as issues ‘extend beyond the ACL’

The Reds didn’t sign any centre-backs during the summer transfer window, while allowing Dejan Lovren to leave for Zenit St-Petersburg.

They have been tipped to make a splash in the January window, however, with RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano believed to be a target.

The French youngster was one of Europe’s most sought-after defenders this summer, and attracted attention from United and Bayern Munich.

However, he opted to stay put at the Bundesliga club, though he has been tipped to leave before long.

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Liverpool are expected to be in the mix if and when he becomes available, as Klopp has apparently identified him as one of his top targets.

But according to Paul Robinson, Liverpool will have to pay a premium fee if they want to sign the 21-year-old, as they will with whoever they target as a Van Dijk replacement.

Speaking to Football Insider, he explained that any teams Liverpool approach will know they have to sign a centre-back and are desperate, and will therefore be asked to pay an inflated price.

United suffered from a similar approach this summer in their pursuit of Sancho, with Dortmund refusing to budge on their £108million valuation.

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United had made no secret of their desire to bring in a new right-winger during the summer window, and Dortmund played that to their advantage and kept to their asking price.

Robinson explained that Liverpool will likely face the same fate, saying: “Upamecano at Leipzig is a top centre-half. I’ve seen him before a couple of times.

“I’ve read that he’s on his Liverpool’s list.

“Ben White, yes, I have admiration for him and what he achieved and did at Leeds but having just signed a new contract at Brighton he’s committed his future there.

“Given the current situation Liverpool are in they would have to massively overpay to get him out and I don’t think you’d get value for money.

“Saying that given Liverpool’s defence now whoever Liverpool goes and knock on the door of and ask for it’s going to be an extra £15million or £20million, because they know the situation Liverpool are in.

“If they go for Upamecano if he was worth £25million, £30million because of Liverpool’s situation he now becomes a £40million, £45million player.

“Teams will take advantage of Liverpool’s situation.”

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