The Dutch centre-back has emerged as one of the best defenders in this season’s Premier League

Jose Mourinho’s displeasure with the defensive options available at his disposal has been widely reported, having leaked 16 goals in their last 13 games in all competitions with the team anguishing at the eight spot in the Premier League, 10 points behind league leaders Chelsea at the time of writing.

Various options for Jose’s defensive overhaul has cropped-up, with Roma’s Antonio Rudiger and Atletico Madrid’s defensive duo of Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin reported to be among the top targets for the manager.

And now English newspaper, The Sunday People, have reported the Red Devils manager sees his ideal defender in Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk, with the Manchester-based club already contemplating for a £30 million move for the Dutch defender.

The tabloid claims Mourinho feels his backline is ‘soft’ and is missing an aggressive leader which is why Virgil van Dijk has been made a priority – to add some steel in the defence.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Virgil van Dijk of Southampton closes down Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 23: Virgil van Dijk of Southampton closes down Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo courtesy Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Since his transfer to the Saints from Celtic in summer of 2015, Virgil van Dijk has steadily progressed as a defender, making his name as a very dependable ball-playing centre-back. The player went on to win Southampton’s 2015/16 Player of the Year in his debut season for the club.

Virgil van Dijk has continued in the same rich vein this season as well, earning the plaudits for his performance against Arsenal and Manchester City, among others.

On the back of yet another solid display at the heart of the defence, this time against Inter Milan in the Europa League, Southampton manager Claude Puel couldn’t help but praise Virgil van Dijk, stating the Dutchman has all the tools to become the best defender in the world very soon.

If van Dijk’s performances in the last one and a half seasons are anything to go by, Claude Puel definitely has a valid point. The defender has stood firm even against the likes of Sergio Aguero, and at the age of 25, he’s only going to improve. No wonder Jose Mourinho is reported to be desperate to win the Dutchman’s signature.

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