Barcelona and Real Madrid are the latest entrants in the race to sign heavily-sought after Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk and are set to battle Liverpool.
According to Spanish publication Don Balon, Southampton’s hopes of retaining Virgil Van Dijk for the upcoming season has suffered another setback, with Barcelona and Real Madrid entering the race for the Dutch international. The Spanish duo are now set to battle Liverpool in the pursuit of the Premier League superstar.
Van Dijk has already made his intentions clear and has been left to train alone after telling Southampton that he wants a move away from the club. And while his preference has been Liverpool thus far, it may all change with the entry of clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Virgil Van Dijk took the Premier League by storm after his move from Celtic to Southampton in the summer of 2015. The player established himself as one of the most formidable centre-backs in the league in his maiden season and added further credibility to his maiden season performance with an equally convincing second season.
Liverpool are waiting to receive the green light from Southampton before returning for Virgil van Dijk. [Daily Mail] pic.twitter.com/BBViAkCESf
— Football Transfer (@TransferTrends) July 24, 2017
His campaign in the 2016/17 season was mired with injuries. But, even in the 30 appearances he managed to make in all competitions, the defender impressed with his commanding presence at the back, something which led to widespread interest in the 26-year-old, despite his injury status.
The perennial Premier League big four – Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United – along with Manchester City all lined up for Van Dijk. But, as it appears, the player seemed to prefer to join his other former Southampton mates at Anfield and expressed his desire to work under Jurgen Klopp.
However, Liverpool were forced to back off from the pursuit after Southampton threatened to drag the club to the council over tapping up of the player – an incident that saw the Reds issue a formal apology. But, the Reds remain in pursuit of the player and are plotting a club-record £60 million bid for the Dutchman.
Barcelona, too, are in need of centre-backs, especially after their last season, which featured some shocking defensive performances. And while the attack did try to alleviate the shortcomings at the back, unlike other seasons, they weren’t able to do so, which saw Barcelona surrender their La Liga title to Real Madrid.
Real have had a successful two seasons or so under Zinedine Zidane. However, with the departure of Pepe, the Frenchman is looking for a solid centre-back. The club were linked with Leonardo Bonucci, who unfortunately was nabbed up by AC Milan.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 24, 2017
And, Real have now turned to Van Dijk again, after being linked with the player in the past. With Van Dijk refusing to train with Southampton, there are rumours that he may now be available for an amount lesser than was touted in the months before his gruesome injury, which is the root cause of interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Indeed, if the two clubs turn their interest into a serious offer, it may turn Van Dijk’s head, who may then prefer a move to Spain over joining Klopp & co. But, for now, Liverpool does remain in the lead. Although, their lead has narrowed down and the Reds face potential competition now from two of the biggest brands in world football.