What now for Virgil van Dijk? Liverpool’s recent pursuit for the Dutchman hit a wall.
We assess some of the options for the highly sought-after Southampton defender…
It was believed as of last week that Van Dijk would be moving to the red half of Merseyside, until Sky sources announced last week that Saints had reported Liverpool to the Premier League board in regards to an ‘illegal approach’ for the player.
GRAPHIC: Virgil van Dijk pic.twitter.com/AapCXaKGoB
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 8, 2017
As it stands, Van Dijk is still very much Southampton property. However, growing speculation shows there is keen interest elsewhere from a number of clubs in the Premier League. Here are three of the most notable names keeping tabs on the 25 year old.
With the omission of John Terry and Antonio Conte’s preference of playing with three centre backs, perhaps Van Dijk would be well suited over at Stamford Bridge? Chelsea could be a slightly less obvious option for the player himself, particularly as the Blue’s centre-halves were so well accredited for their performances in last season’s title winning campaign. This being said, Van Dijk could well fancy the chance to defend the championship, and of course, gain Champions League experience.
Pep Guardiola is understood to be an admirer of the Dutch international. City have already been busy searching for new reinforcements early this summer. Pep appears to be giving much of the defence an overhaul, initially prioritising new wing backs, as well as being drawn into speculation of signing a well established centre half to partner City’s skipper Vincent Kompany.
The Spaniard does of course have Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones at his disposal. Though, the latter has seemingly fallen out of the pecking order, still developing at a tender age and adjusting to the style of football required at the Etihad. Meanwhile, Otamendi has built a reputation for being hot and cold. In a player such as Van Dijk, City would surely solve this missing level of consistency and assuredness at the back.
Could Van Dijk be Old Trafford bound? It had looked like a season full of underachievement, but a switch to the Red Devil’s may seem like a more appealing move now after they triumphed in the Europa League, granting them an automatic place in the Champions League. It should be mentioned that United did enjoy a strong campaign defensively, conceding the league’s second fewest goals with 29. So this isn’t necessarily a position which is crying out for signings. That said, Jose Mourinho could well want to bolster his stubborn defence as further transfer speculation surrounding goalkeeper David De Gea resumes from last summer’s saga again.
Catch some of Virgil van Dijk’s 2016/17 highlights by hitting play below …
So, how much could Van Dijk cost and what would he bring to the table?
Well, recent valuations by Southampton suggest any takers are going to have to cough up some serious funds. Saints have slapped a staggering £60 million price tag on the Dutchman, which would make him the most expensive defender ever in world football. It would seem the seaside club are holding out for a big business deal as they look to profit richly from the £11.5 million they used to acquire him from Celtic in 2015.
As often the case with a big money moves, stumbling blocks occur as clubs set out a budget which is tightly calculated with other areas of the squad to improve on. So why the £60 million label? Well, Van Dijk has showcased his repertoire of skills consistently over the last two seasons, and in what many would agree is the toughest division across the globe.
Virgil van Dijk has won more tackles & aerial duels combined (327) since joining the Premier League than any other centre-back. 💪 pic.twitter.com/Pa6YLWyZ6a
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 5, 2017
From heading, tackling and holding a sound back-line to offensive traits such as dribbling, passing and shielding the ball, he demonstrates how effective he is up and down the pitch. It’s also worth mentioning, Van Dijk has scored four goals in 55 appearances at St Mary’s, while also earning 12 caps since his 2015 debut for the Netherlands. Moreover, at 25, he’s already vastly experienced, yet the dutch international is still to enter the peak stage of his career.