Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk is reportedly set to snub advances from Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United to remain at St. Mary’s in the summer
The Sun have reported that Virgil van Dijk will snub interest from Premier League heavyweights Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United to commit his future to Southampton, having been made the captain of the club recently.
Virgil van Dijk has taken English football by storm ever since his £13 million move to Southampton from Celtic in 2015, being one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League.
He was full of promise when he arrived in England, and he has taken his level up a notch in a season and a half since then, being a rock at the back for the Saints, showing pace, tenacity and superb reading of the game to become one of the best defenders in the the English top-flight.
Ronald de Boer on Virgil van Dijk: “Under Koeman he made unbelievable progress and this year he is one of the top defenders in the league.” pic.twitter.com/3VYQ3wUBMw
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) February 9, 2017
His performances haven’t gone unnoticed, with some of the biggest clubs in England reported to be interested in acquiring his services. The likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United were all linked with van Dijk in recent months, with each club rumoured to be looking for defensive reinforcements.
At Chelsea, Antonio Conte wants to add to his options with Nathan Ake and the injury-returnee Kurt Zouma the only fallback options apart from the first choice back three of Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and David Luiz. Signing a defender of the calibre of van Dijk has been seen as a way to improve Conte’s already solid defence.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have been a shambles in defence, with the Reds having the worst defensive record of all the teams in the Top 8, thanks to silly mistakes at the back. And while Joel Matip has made quite the impression since moving to Anfield in the summer, van Dijk would be a definite upgrade on the error-prone Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan.
Manchester City don’t have a solid defensive record either, with Liverpool the only team worse than them in the Top 8. Vincent Kompany has spent the majority of the season on the sidelines while John Stones just hasn’t settled at the Etihad Stadium.
That leaves Pep Guardiola with just Nicolas Otamendi, who hasn’t inspired much confidence either and van Dijk’s addition will certainly add more steel at the back for a team that has a hugely suspect defence.
Manchester United do not have a defensive crisis on their hands, and only Chelsea and Tottenham boast of a better defensive record. Marcos Rojo has been rejuvenated this season, while Phil Jones has put his injury woes behind him.
Add to that, new addition Eric Bailly has been a fantastic addition at Old Trafford, while Chris Smalling has been consistent in the chances that have come his way as well. All this has led to Jose Mourinho now being admittedly satisfied with his current options, and they look unlikely to enter the market for a centre-back in the summer.
Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all put off their pursuit of van Dijk in the winter, after the 25-year-old was ruled out for three months due to an ankle injury. But they looked all set to renew their interest in the summer.
However, according to the report by The Sun, van Dijk is all set to snub any interest in him and pledge his future to Southampton after being handed the captain’s armband.
A source close to the publication said, “When Virgil took the captaincy it was on the understanding he would lead the team until the end of next season as a minimum. He has a long-term contract and is settled at the club.” So that is likely to put this transfer rumour to bed for now.