Is Virgil van Dijk better than the defenders at Liverpool and Chelsea?

As you have probably heard, Virgil van Dijk, has handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force Southampton’s hand. Liverpool tested the waters earlier this transfer window only to be rejected, while this time it seems Chelsea are also eager to have a fling. However, despite the rumour circus surrounding this, is the Saints’ centre-back better than the talents already donning the Merseyside red and London blue? 

Bold text represents the areas Liverpool and Chelsea’s defenders boast higher numbers than Virgil van Dijk. Stats taken from 2016-17 season. 

Virgil van Dijk

  • Appearances: 21
  • Pass Accuracy: 84%
  • Total Passes: 825
  • Tackle Success: 77%
  • Aerial Duel Success: 75%
  • Errors leading to goals: 0

Dejan Lovren

  • Appearances: 28
  • Pass Accuracy: 86% 
  • Total Passes: 1650 
  • Tackle Success: 75%
  • Aerial Duel Success: 66%
  • Errors leading to Goals: 1

Joel Matip

  • Appearances: 28
  • Pass Accuracy: 87% 
  • Total Passes: 1379
  • Tackle Success: 78% 
  • Aerial Duel Success: 60%
  • Errors leading to Goals: 0

Gary Cahill

  • Appearances: 36
  • Pass Accuracy: 88% 
  • Total Passes: 1584
  • Tackle Success: 76%
  • Aerial Duel Success: 62%
  • Errors leading to Goals: 2


David Luiz

  • Appearances: 32
  • Pass Accuracy: 83%
  • Total Passes: 1262
  • Tackle Success: 67%
  • Aerial Duel Success: 61%
  • Errors leading to Goals: 0

What does this tell us?

Well it demonstrates that Virgil van Dijk is incredibly talented in the air, beating out every other player, even Liverpool’s giant, Joel Matip. The Dutchmen is also a quality tackler, losing out by a whisker to the Reds’ German defender. Finally, van Dijk is very safe. Not once did he make a mistake that led to anything more than a shot at goal, whereas the likes of Dejan Lovren and Gary Cahill have been the cause of three goals combined in 2016-17.

In terms of the cons you will need to take a massive grain of salt, because van Dijk has played less games than every other player on the list. Therefore, total passes is rather irrelevant but we thought it was worth including to give you some context for the pass accuracy numbers. Speaking of that, the lack of games should not be an irrelevant variable when talking about pass accuracy. David Luiz is the only player on this list to have a worst pass accuracy than van Dijk, and the biggest winning margin over the Dutchmen is just 4%.

With that in mind, van Dijk is certainly ticking all the boxes in terms of defensive capabilities, but as mentioned, not by huge margins. There is also the difference of playing for a club like Liverpool or Chelsea compared to Southampton. Whether or not that would effect Virgil van Dijk is up in the air, but he has had a some questionable performances for Netherlands on the international stage.

Would you like to see Virgil van Dijk join Liverpool or Chelsea?

Below you can find van Dijk’s transfer request: 


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