Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol believes the £75 million fee agreed between Liverpool and Southampton for centre-back Virgil van Dijk is the result of a “crazy” market.
Liverpool announced on Wednesday they had secured the services of the 26-year-old Netherlands international, who they failed to land during the close season, and his January arrival at Anfield will make him the most expensive defender in football history.
Puyol is widely regarded as one of the finest defenders of the modern era following a career-spanning stint with Barca that yielded a host of honours, including six La Liga crowns and three Champions League titles.
The 39-year-old has no qualms over players cashing in on the vast riches the game has to offer today but, speaking at the Dubai International Sports Conference, he conceded such spiralling fees were not credible in the recent past.
“Yes, the players deserve this amount of money, this is how the market is, this is how demand is,” Puyol said.
“The amounts are crazy, but this is the market. And I don’t think this will stop.
“Yesterday, Virgil van Dijk was bought for £75m. Years ago, this was impossible.”
Van Dijk will officially become a Liverpool player on January 1, when Jurgen Klopp’s side travel to Burnley.