Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has reportedly admitted a desire to join forces with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

According to the Daily Record, van Dijk has admitted a desire to work with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. The Dutch centre-back has been a transfer target for the Premier League duo of Chelsea and the Citizens and is likely to leave Southampton in the summer. Liverpool were also reportedly keeping an eye on the 26-year-old.

Things have not gone as per plan in Guardiola’s first season in charge in England’s top flight. After winning the first ten games on a spin in all competitions, City were held to a draw against Celtic in the Champions League. What followed was the Spaniard’s first Premier League defeat when City lost 2-0 against Tottenham Hotspur.

Since then the Citizens have looked shaky at the back and are in dire need of defensive reinforcements. John Stones was signed for £48 million this season, but has already made the joint-highest number of defensive errors leading to goals this term.

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)

His most recent debacle came in the 4-2 defeat against Leicester when he was to blame for Jamie Vardy dribbling past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Stones’ naively dispossessed the ball and a helpless Bravo saw him beaten to the ball by the English striker.

Club captain Vincent Kompany has been an avid reader of the game and an adept organiser of the defence, but his injuries have seen him miss out on a number of games in the 2016/17 campaign.

In place of him, Aleksander Kolarov has been used as a makeshift centre-back and has struggled to be a good defensive partner to Stones. Nicholas Otamendi, much like last season, has struggled to cope up with the frantic nature of the league, giving Pep a huge defensive dilemma.

Van Dijk may be just the man to address Guardiola’s woes at the back. He is a physical presence, is lethal in the air and is also know to chip in the with the odd goals every now and then. However, with the growing interest in him, he is unlikely to be available on the cheaper side.

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