Manchester City are reportedly set to go head-to-head with Liverpool in pursuit of Virgil van Dijk in the winter transfer window.

According to a report in Daily Mirror, Manchester City have stepped up their interest in Virgil van Dijk and set to make a move for him in the winter transfer window. The Premier League leaders have joined Liverpool in the race to sign the Southampton defender.

Van Dijk is considered to be one of the best defenders in the Premier League, having been a consistent performer for Southampton following a summer move from Celtic in the summer of 2015. The player was, in fact, so impressive for the Saints that he was entrusted with the club captaincy following the departure of Jose Fonte earlier this year.

Problems started brewing in the seemingly happy marriage between the club and the Dutchman in the summer as with Liverpool in his pursuit, van Dijk handed a transfer request. He also refused to play for Mauricio Pellegrino’s men, only returning to action in September, after the transfer window closed.

But while van Dijk has resumed his regular place at the heart of defence for the Saints over the last two months, his future has become a subject of speculation once again, with mere weeks remaining for the winter transfer window to open.

To little surprise, Liverpool are set to continue their pursuit of the Dutch international in January, with Jurgen Klopp reportedly given the green light to make a move, and for good reason. The Reds have posed a highly vulnerable look at the back so far this season.

While Joel Matip has been a solid customer for the most part, neither Dejan Lovren nor Ragnar Klavan have been convincing enough throughout their respective Liverpool careers, making van Dijk a viable target. But, the Merseysiders are set to face stiff competition from Manchester City for the player.

The Citizens have made a fantastic start to the season in all competitions, and are looking like worthy contenders to win not just the Premier League, but every competition that they’re featuring in. While they have indeed largely looked imperious so far, defence has been a minor concern for Pep Guardiola.

At the heart of defence, in particular, there could potentially be a shortage of personnel soon, with Vincent Kompany dealing with fitness troubles and John Stones sidelined with a potentially long-term hamstring injury last weekend.

That leaves just Nicolas Otamendi as a centre-back who can play week in week out, with Eliaquim Mangala not enjoying his manager’s complete confidence. Moreover, Guardiola indicated in his post-match press conference on the weekend that he is likely to enter the market for a central defender in the winter.

A head-to-head battle for van Dijk, thus, seems to ensuing, and with just a few more weeks left for the transfer window to open, the player seems set to finally move away from St. Mary’s. Recent comments made by Pellegrino suggest that Southampton have also softened their stance on selling the player.

Manchester City may have a slight advantage in pursuit of van Dijk though, considering Liverpool do not share a healthy relationship with Southampton. It now remains to be seen where the Dutchman heads off to as we get closer to the winter transfer window.

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