Jose Mourinho questions Jurgen Klopp after £75m Virgil van Dijk deal
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has questioned Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s 2016 threat to quit rather than spend inflated transfer fees.
The Anfield club are to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in a £75m deal on 1 January for a fee which is a world record for a defender.
Klopp said on Friday the “last thing” he considers is the fee “because we are thinking about the player”.
He added: “You get the price and you have to accept it or not.”
However, Mourinho used his news conference to revisit the comments Klopp made when United closed in on an £89m deal to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus in July 2016.
The Liverpool boss said then he wanted “to do it differently” and would do even if he could spend such sums. He added that “the day that this is football, I’m not in a job any more”.
Speaking on Friday, Mourinho suggested journalists ask the German about those comments.
“The reality is if they think the player is the right player for them, and they really want the player, they pay this amount or they don’t have the player,” he said,
“If you pay, you pay a crazy amount of money but if you don’t, you don’t have the player. It’s as simple as that. No criticism at all about what Liverpool did. It’s just the way it is.”
‘The last half year changed everything’
Speaking earlier in the day, Klopp said that certain deals over the past two years had “changed everything” when it came to the transfer market.
Brazilian Neymar moved from Barcelona to Paris St-Germain in the summer for a world record £200m after the French club paid his buy-out clause.
They also signed Kylian Mbappe on loan for £165.7m in August, while Barcelona paid £135.5m for Ousmane Dembele the same month.
“I’m surprised about the development in the last two years,” Klopp said. “There were big steps and the last half a year changed everything.
“We cannot, as a club, change that. Not each club would be able to do it but a lot of clubs are able to do it and they will do it in the future. It’s about need and opportunity.
“It’s the same like it was before. Half a year ago there was a big transfer for an offensive player and now we have a big transfer for a defensive player. It’s around about a third of it – that is how it always was.
“It’s not nice but that is the market. We have to adapt. That’s how it is.”