Manchester City have reportedly prepared a bumper £100 million deal to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in the summer.
According to a report in The Times, Manchester City are set to move into the lead ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool in the race to sign Virgil van Dijk. The Citizens are plotting a staggering £100 million deal to secure the services of the Southampton defender in the summer transfer window.
Van Dijk is widely considered to be one of the best central defenders in the Premier League, having been a pivotal figure for Southampton in the last two seasons. A rock at the back for his side, the Dutchman has shown impeccable technique on the ball while also holding off opposition attackers with his strength.
Consequently, the interest in the player has only grown as he has continued to go from strength to strength at St. Mary’s. So far, Chelsea and Liverpool have been reported to be the front-runners in the race to sign the 25-year-old, with both clubs reportedly eager to make defensive reinforcements ahead of the 2017/18 season.
Tomorrow’s Times saying Man City are close to signing Virgil Van Dijk. pic.twitter.com/Ghujg4aqE8
— Jack Sear (@JackSear) May 31, 2017
At Chelsea, a change in system that employs a back-three worked wonders for Antonio Conte and his men as they romped to the Premier League title this season. While the trio of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill did well this season, the Chelsea boss does not have any experienced head beyond the three.
With the Blues set to compete on four fronts next season, Conte is eager to sign a top quality centre-back in the summer, thus, setting his sights on van Dijk. Liverpool, too, will be competing in the Champions League next season, which is set to force Jurgen Klopp into the market to make additions across different positions.
Central defence is believed to be one of his priorities, with neither Dejan Lovren nor Ragnar Klavan proving to be a reliable ally to Joel Matip. Hence, it has been reported that the Liverpool boss is ready to delve into the transfer market for a centre-back, with van Dijk being a top target.
The Dutchman can also add a lot of value to the Liverpool squad, should he fulfill his wish of working under Klopp – with his prowess in the air, as Liverpool have often struggled in set piece situations.
However, Manchester City seem to have taken the lead in the race to sign the player, as they are set to table a lucrative £100 million package for him. The aforementioned sum includes his transfer fee, which will stand at £50 million, alongside a five-year contract that will see van Dijk pocket around £180,000 a week.
The potential offer comes as a statement of intent from Pep Guardiola, who is eyeing an overhaul of his squad this summer. Defence, in particular, was a problem area for City this season, as an ageing back-line struggled to cope against pacy attacks.
Guardiola is, thus, keen to make amends ahead of next season, with a right-back, left-back and centre-back reported to be his priorities. At 25, van Dijk can be a long-term solution in defence for the Citizens, and can partner John Stones at the heart of defence for years to come.
It now remains to be seen if either Chelsea or Liverpool can manage to usurp City in the chase for the coveted Southampton man.