Liverpool have finally made a breakthrough in their pursuit of Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, with the two clubs closing in on an agreement, according to Sunday World, as cited by the Independent.
The Reds were forced to back down from their interest in the Netherlands international over the summer to evade a sanction from the Football Association, after the Saints made it known of their unsolicited approaches for the player.
However, the report states that an agreement between the Merseysiders and those on the south coast is edging closer, and that a deal worth around the alleged £70m asking price is taking structure.
It was thought that Liverpool were not keen on stretching their budget to the lofty sum, although it was unknown whether that statement was simply being used as a bargaining tool. But now, speculation seems to portray that the Reds are willing to shatter their record transfer fee in order to land Jurgen Klopp's top priority target.
Van Dijk endured his second spell on the substitutes' bench in as many games during Southampton's controversy-filled 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town on Saturday, and boss Mauricio Pellegrino refused to clarify the reasoning behind his decision over the player's absence from the starting XI.
"Virgil, we know there will be a lot of speculation about him he's important player but I can't say anything right now", the Argentine said in his post-match press conference.
"I decided that was best for this moment. This is the reason. I am responsible for picking 11 players, and I intend to pick the best for the team.
"Van Dijk's future? We have to wait."
The report claims that unless Manchester City or Chelsea follow up on their alleged interest and table an offer to match that of Liverpool's, the Southampton defender looks set to join the Anfield outfit come January.