Jose Mourinho points to Jurgen Klopp hypocrisy over £75m signing of Virgil van Dijk
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has taken a dig at Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp over the £75m signing of Virgil van Dijk.
Reds boss Klopp was critical of United’s then world record signing of Paul Pogba in 2016. Mourinho indicated that he had not forgotten those comments in the wake of Liverpool splashing the cash on a Southampton centre-back.
Although he was keen to flag up Klopp’s hypocrisy, the United boss did at least indicate that he understood the reason for Van Dijk’s fee.
He said the Dutch defender was not as good as AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini, former Inter Milan stalwart Giuseppe Bergomi or ex-United star Rio Ferdinand, but the market dictated the Reds would have to pay a record fee for a defender if they wanted to get their man.
He told reporters at his press conference this afternoon: “You know, I think the one that speaks about it in a specific way has to be Jurgen and if I was one of you I would ask him about his comments about one year ago.
“But not speaking specifically about that case because in Liverpool they do what they want to do and I am nobody to comment on what they do.
“The reality is that if they think that the player is the right player for them and they really want the player they pay his amount or they don’t have the player because that is the way the market is at that time.
“So when we compare now the amount of money certain managers and clubs spend and try to compare that, I am not saying with 10 years ago but three years ago, is to compare the impossible. You cannot compare the realities.
“Virgil van Dijk is the most expensive defender in history of football, was he better than [Paolo] Maldini, [Giuseppe] Bergomi or [Rio] Ferdinand? You cannot say that, it’s just the way the market is and you pay or you don’t pay.
“If you pay obviously you pay a crazy amount of money but if you don’t you don’t have the player. Is as simple as that, so no critics at all about what Liverpool did, is just the way it is.”
Klopp had previously stated that he did not want to spend big on bringing star players to Anfield.
In July 2016, he said: “If you bring one player in for £100m and he gets injured, then it all goes through the chimney.
“The day that this is football, I’m not in a job anymore, because the game is about playing together.
“Building the group is necessary to be successful. Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players. I want to do it differently.”