Liverpool are set to join London giants Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk next month.
After a highly successful 2013-14 season, which saw the Merseysiders mount an amazing title challenge, and only miss out narrowly, much was expected this time around as well. Unfortunately, its not happened. The Merseysiders are currently struggling in every department. They lack goals, and the defence is worse than it was last year, when goals were constantly being leaked. Summer signing Dejan Lovren, who became the most expensive defender for Liverpool- ever- has failed to live up to his price tag and had been benched for the experienced Kolo Toure. Mamadou Sakho was out injured after a fall-out with the club and manager, and is only coming back now, so his performance will be assessed after he has spent some time in the starting 11. With defense not doing well, it is not surprising that Liverpool are linked to be looking at defenders at the moment.
Reports indicate that Rodgers is keen on Van Dijk to help with the leaky defence. He will join Premier League rivals Arsenal and Spurs in the chase.
The Dutch started his career with Willem II before transferring to FC Groningen in 2010 on a free transfer after just one season. After spending two seasons with the Dutch club, van Dijk signed a four-year contract with Scottish biggies Celtic for a fee of around £2.6 million. The 23 year old has done well with Celtic so far. van Dijk’s main strength is his physicality and imposing presence in the back-line. At 6 ft 4 inches, he can time his headers well and possesses aerial threat. Van Dijk likes to use his strength to surge forward and join in on attacks. He likes to get involved moving up-front, and isn’t shy about taking long shots. He can also take free kicks and do so well.
Arsenal have been linked with the Celtic defender for months now and have been said to be scouting him extensively. Spurs too got linked to him a while back. Liverpool are the most recent club vying his services. The Dutchman, whose exclusion from the World Cup squad left a lot of Dutch supporters chewing their brains, could be a valuable addition to all three teams. All of these sides do not boast tight and solid back-lines and/or are short of people to fill in at the back.
It would be interesting to see if a battle for the 23 year old’s services will take place in the winter and whether Celtic will be able to keep their prized addition at the club till the end of the season.