Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk is keen on working under Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp should he leave St Mary’s in the summer

According to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk is likely to say no to London duo Chelsea and Arsenal as he has his heart set on joining forces with the Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.

The Saints defender has been the talk of the town for the last couple of seasons and is slowly becoming one of the Premier League’s finest centre-backs. He has the perfect blend of strength and technique – which has seen a the top sides in the country show an avid interest in him.

The likes of Chelsea and Arsenal have both been linked with the Dutch defender as they look to strengthen their resolve going into the 2017/18 season, although for extremely contrasting reasons.

For Chelsea and Antonio Conte, a three-man defence has been key to their title triumph this past season, and the Italian is likely to field the same system next season. However, what made the Blues’ triumph that much easier was the absence of Champions League football.

Next season though, Chelsea will return to Europe’s elite club competition and will need to solidify their back line for which they were drawn towards the Southampton defender.

Hold on, I'm staying. (Photo courtesy - Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Virgil van Dijk has been one of Southampton’s finest breed of players in the last decade, and the club are unlikely to let go of him on the cheap. (Photo Courtesy: Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

On the other side of London, Arsenal’s centre-backs Shkodran Mustafi and Per Mertesacker have endured injury prone campaigns, while Rob Holding’s inexperience of playing in the top flight has seen him put in a number of nervy displays.

Adding van Dijk to the fold would have helped Arsene Wenger get a commanding presence at the back, and also someone who is good with the ball at his feet. He can fit into a back four and a back three with ease, and is a joy to watch when he is on song.

The London duo could have to look elsewhere, as the defender is keen on signing for Liverpool. Manager Jurgen Klopp has seen his side struggle to defend from set pieces as Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip have all been mediocre in the air.

Van Dijk, however, is a quality customer when it comes to aerial duels as he has won a total of 4.67 of them in the league this season – one more than Liverpool’s best defender Lovren, and a staggering two and a half more than Matip who has been woeful at aerial duels this season.

Thus, bringing van Dijk into the fold could prove to be a very good piece of business by Klopp and the Merseyside club. His arrival may finally put an end to Liverpool’s frail defending that has irked the German since he arrived in the 2015/16 season.

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