It looks like Southampton will be losing one of their key men once again this summer with clubs keen on acquiring the services of centre-back Virgil Van Dijk, however, he will not come cheap. With a £60 million price tag on his head, it would make him the most expensive defender in the world, and Chelsea are reportedly looking into the possibility of signing him.
The 25-year-old signed with The Saints in 2015 and attracted much transfer speculation last summer but stuck by the south coast side. In May last year, he put pen to paper on a new contract that would last until 2022, but it looks like he will not see out the final five years of his contract.
Having raided Southampton for several years now, Liverpool were strong favourites to sign the former Celtic defender. The Merseyside club have already signed Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane in recent transfer windows. So it came as no surprise they would want to acquire the services of Van Dijk as well.
However, the move has been cancelled, and The Reds have dropped their interest in the defender due to Southampton reporting them to the F.A for breaching transfer rules. The south coast club says they had no contact from Liverpool.
Before the increased speculation of a move to the five-time European Champions, he has been linked with other Premier League clubs such as Manchester City and Chelsea. It is no wonder he has been linked with these clubs with the stand out performances he has produced over the past two seasons for a higher end mid-table side.
He is composed on the ball, rarely looks rattled by proceedings and is physically imposing. You would hope signing a £60 million defender would bring solidity at the back and be what any top side needs to challenge for the title.
The club that would need Van Dijk the most is undoubtedly Manchester City; who have been suspect in defence this season. Despite the signing of John Stones for £50 million last summer, the former Premier League champions have conceded six more than winners, Chelsea, 13 more than 2nd placed Tottenham Hotspur and ten more than 6th placed Manchester United.
However, that is not to say that the champions will not put in a bid for him. Despite an excellent season defensively with a back three of Cahill, Luiz and Azpilicueta there would be no harm in adding some much-needed competition into the mix.
It has also been rumoured that the Spanish giants have the versatile Azpilicueta on their radar, which is where Van Dijk would fit into the Chelsea side; on the left-hand side of the back three.
It will be interesting to see how this transfer plays out with Liverpool now out of the running whether Chelsea or the war chest that Manchester City have at their disposal will come into play before the end of the transfer window, only time will tell.
But Saints fans will be counting down the days until the window shuts so that they can keep hold of their most prized asset.