It's that time of year again. As the 2018/19 season edges towards a dramatic conclusion, Nike are beginning to roll out their next-generation projects for the 19/20 campaign, and this week they've dished out prototype editions of the Tiempo Legend VIII to Liverpool defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Wrapped in a unique aesthetic to disguise all tech aspects of the eighth-generation Tiempo model, the boots of the two Redmen feature a wavy aesthetic cross the entire upper. The trippy design, which is unlikely to be released and is purely for hiding the identity, scatters black and white 3D-esque graphics over the silhouette with the word 'Tiempo' spelt out – takes a while to spot, but it's there, promise. The outline of a white Swoosh is also visible on the outstep of the design. Throw in the fact that VDV and Gomez are both Tiempo players and the case is cracked.


The Tiempo is due a revamp, we knew that. Nike launched the current generation model back in June 2017, which is one hell of a shelf-life in the current market. That edition landed as the first ever Flyknit Tiempo and this upcoming project looks like it'll land as the second with a more seamless and transitioned Flyknit tongue construction. It might be an odd time to test a brand new boot – the day before a Champions League Semi-Final – Nike are scheduled to drop the Tiempo 8 in the summer, but could we be looking at something of a tease campaign on pitch at the Camp Nou this week? Wouldn't rule it out.


As for Virgil van Dijk, he's most definitely set for a more prominent role in Nike's squad of elite players. Pique and Ramos still lead the way, but after this colossal season which saw him bag the PFA Player of the Year Award, as well as leading a resurgent Netherlands team, the Liverpool centre back is very much the next main man for the Swoosh when it comes to defenders and the Tiempo.


Stay tuned for a closer look at the Nike Tiempo VIII when it launches later this summer...