Southampton’s chairman has ruled out an exit for Virgil van Dijk, who is a target for Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City
Ralph Krueger, the chairman of Southampton has insisted that the Saints are intent on keeping their side together – something they have failed to do over the last few years – and will not be selling Virgil van Dijk this summer. Krueger also claims that van Dijk himself is committed to Southampton and wants to stay.
“We are just out of the January transfer window and are striving to keep this group together and to build on it. Virgil is very committed us for a long time and we don’t see anything but that in our future.”
“He is our team captain and we don’t see him anywhere else than in red and white stripes. We don’t want to do what we did in the last three summers every year,” Krueger said, according to the Sun.
Krueger’s comments seem to confirm reports that emerged earlier this month that claimed that van Dijk would reject advances from other clubs in order to stay at Southampton, a decision he made after being made captain of the team.
Van Dijk, who signed with Southampton in 2015 for a reported £13 million transfer fee, has quickly grown into one of the best defenders in the league and has been one of Southampton’s key players this season.
The stats back up his hugely impressive season thus far. In 21 appearances in the English Premier League this season, van Dijk has registered an average of 0.68 blocks, 1.46 tackles won, 2.72 interceptions and a whopping 6.80 clearance per 90 minutes, according to Squawka.
The Dutchman – who has been out since January with a Malleolar injury – has attracted universal praise this season and his performances have not gone unnoticed by the Premier League elite, many of whom have been linked with a move for him in the summer.
Manchester City have been struggling severely with their defence this season. Vincent Kompany has been plagued with injuries and has only managed 2 starts in the league while John Stones and Nicholas Otamendi have looked unconvincing at the back.
Van Dijk is reportedly a top target for Pep Guardiola as the Spaniard looks to sort out the issues his team has. At 25, van Dijk would also inject some much needed youth into an ageing City side.
Liverpool have also had some defensive issues this season, with Dejan Lovren at times continuing to commit errors during matches and Ragnar Klavan also prone to errors. Joel Matip has been very impressive this season and could use a partner with the stature of Southampton’s captain.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard himself urged the club to buy van Dijk as Liverpool need to sort out their defensive problems but it appears that the retired Englishman will not get his wish anytime soon.
Chelsea are also said to be highly interested in van Dijk. John Terry is almost certainly expected to leave the club at the end of the season and Branislav Ivanovic has already departed for Zenit St. Petersburg.
Antonio Conte is said to be a huge admirer of van Dijk and with Gary Cahill already 31 years of age, the Italian could use a defender who could form a partnership with David Luiz and Cesar Azipilicueta for years to come.
However, going by Ralph Krueger’s comments, it appears that all three clubs will have to bide their time if they want to sign the Dutchman, although things could change very quickly if they are willing to make an offer that Southampton simply cannot afford to refuse.