Liverpool are reportedly set to step up their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk as Southampton eye Lazio’s Wesley Hoedt as replacement
According to a report by Daily Mail, Southampton are already eyeing replacements for Virgil van Dijk and are targeting Lazio’s Wesley Hoedt. Van Dijk has been linked with the Merseyside club for months now and it is believed that the player is on the verge of sealing a deal this summer.
The defender is a hot target this summer with quite a number of big clubs keen on securing a deal for him. Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is aware that the star defender is likely to exit, with the player already making his intentions known, and is understood to be lining up alternatives.
The Saints have been using Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida as their centre-back pairing and they also have Poland Under-21 international Jan Bednarek to call upon, if needed. Hoedt can be another solid addition and was, in fact, a target for Southampton back in 2015 as well.
The Lazio defender is aerially sound, comfortable on the ball and a good reader of the game – traits which will make him serve as a worthy replacement for Van Dijk.
Liverpool, though, are yet to confirm a fee with Southampton for Van Dijk. Earlier reports suggested that they are willing to pay a record-breaking sum for a defender – in the region of around £60million – to ensure Van Dijk becomes a part of the first-team setup at Anfield.
The defender has been the strongest part of Southampton’s back-line ever since he made his way into the club from Celtic back in the summer of 2015. His performances have helped the player in establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the English top flight.
Jurgen Klopp has been keen to secure his services for a while now, with the Reds boss has been struggling to find a dependable partner for Joel Matip. Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan have failed to put up consistent performances which makes it clear that Liverpool need a quality central defender this summer.
Van Dijk is quite strong when it comes to aerial challenges and that can potentially be an asset for Klopp’s side which has often struggled in set piece situations. It now remains to be seen if Liverpool can indeed secure the player’s services this summer.