Saints are to sell Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool for a world record fee for a defender of £75m.

The confirmation of the impending deal, which will formally go through when the transfer window opens on January 1, brings to an end a long running saga.

Liverpool have been chasing van Dijk for a number of months, but a potential deal hit the buffers in the summer when the clubs fell out over accusations the Reds had been tapped up the Dutch centre half.

Van Dijk made clear his desire to leave Saints, and spent time out of the team until the transfer window closed.

He returned to the team having not played since picking up an injury in January, but has not rediscovered his best form for Saints, who have decided to cash in.

The Daily Echo understands Saints will get about £70m up front with a further £5m to come in add-ons. It represents a world record transfer fee for a defender, and quite a profit on a player the club signed from Celtic for £13m just two-and-a-half years ago.

In a statement, the club said: "Southampton Football Club can confirm it has reached an agreement with Liverpool over the transfer of Virgil van Dijk.

"Southampton have agreed a fee that will set a new world-record for a defender.

"The club wishes Virgil well in his future when the deal is completed on January 1st 2018."

Van Dijk has also issued a statement himself, which says: "Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player!

"Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football!

"I can’t wait to pull on the famous red shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have to try and help this great club achieve something special in years to come.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Les Reed, the board, the manager, players, fans and everyone at Southampton.

"I will always be indebted to the club for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League and despite a difficult last few months I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saints and have made friends for life at the club. Thank you for everything.

"Thank you for the messages of support. I’m now looking forward to meeting my new teammates and getting started #YNWA"