Liverpool already have ready-made Virgil van Dijk replacement to save them millions

Jarell Quansah gives the captain's armband to Liverpool team-mate Virgil van Dijk
-Credit: (Image: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista)

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk has cast doubt over his future at the club with his comments in the aftermath of the Netherlands' 2-1 loss to England in the semi-finals of EURO 2024.

Van Dijk's dream of captaining the Dutch national side to European Championship glory was ended in Dortmund on Wednesday evening as Xavi Simons' opening goal was pegged back by goals from Harry Kane and Ollie Watkins to send the Three Lions through to face Spain in Sunday's final in Berlin.

It means the 33-year-old will now take a few weeks off before returning to Liverpool ahead of the new season. However, he has stated he will 'think carefully' about what his future will look like, both at club level and at international level.

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“I haven't the slightest idea [about my future] right now," Van Dijk said. I will think carefully this summer about what I want at club level and as an international player. Then we'll go for it again, but first recover from this.

“After a season like this, where all kinds of things have happened, it gets emotional at the end because you know it's over.”

New Liverpool manager Arne Slot will want van Dijk to remain at Anfield but the Reds should not worry about splashing out millions to replace him, should he decide to leave. In fact, Liverpool already have his ready-made replacement in-house.

Using Macro Football’s player impact tool, which uses analytics to understand a player’s seasonal impact to see which players in European football's top five leagues are most similar to Van Dijk's characteristics, it is actually his Liverpool team-mate Jarell Quansah who comes out on top.

Quansah has a 98.6% similarity rating to van Dijk, which sees him head the top five which also includes Waldemar Anton, who has just joined Borussia Dortmund from Stuttgart, as well as Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Pau Cubarsi (Barcelona) and Beraldo (PSG).

The 21-year-old academy graduate ended last season as first choice centre-half alongside van Dijk under Jurgen Klopp and he earned his first call-up to the England squad ahead of EURO 2024.

It was a sign of how highly thought of Quansah is on Merseyside that the Reds flatly rejected a swap deal proposal from Newcastle for the defender, which would have seen Anthony Gordon make the move to Anfield.

Liverpool may well look to strengthen their centre-half options, which also include Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez, regardless, but if they are looking to find a player with similar characteristics to Van Dijk, he is already at the club and learning directly from him as part of a succession plan.