Southampton are anticipating renewed interest in Virgil van Dijk in January, but even a world record bid for the Dutch defender might not be enough to land him.
The Saints still maintain the stance that van Dijk is not for sale, but those interested believe they would have listen if bids went above £50million.
Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have been looking at van Dijk for 12-months, although it was the Reds’ pursuit of Van Dijk in the summer that caught the headlines.
The Saints were left furious with Liverpool and their pursuit, and sources close to Southampton made it clear that the last thing they wanted to do was to allow the player to move to Anfield.
Indeed that lead to to City and Chelsea towing the line in their pursuit of the player, instead waiting before making their moves with van Dijk himself demanding a move and then going on strike before having to back-track and return to the squad once the window had closed.
Football INDEX Watch – Virgil Van Dijk – At £2 and in the top 50, one of the top rated defenders on the Index
All three teams could now very well step up their interest in January, with all in need of defensive reinforcements.
Chelsea are set to allow David Luiz – currently the world’s most expensive central defender – to move on-loan, so they would very much have room in their squad, whilst Liverpool’s defensive deficiencies are well publicised.
And City have now confirmed that they are in the market for a new central defender, due to Vincent Kompany’s ongoing injury issues.
“We just speak about [January transfer signings] with the club and Txiki because in the central defender position we don’t have many players, especially in this situation,” said City boss Pep Guardiola.
“Vincent is always injured, he fights a lot to be ready but sometimes he is not able to be fit consistently and we have just three central defenders in that moment for competition.
“Maybe we need one more guy in that position, we are talking about that but of course in winter time it is so complicated.
“We don’t want to sign someone for three or four months, we want to sign them for years and makes sure they are the right guy, if this doesn’t happen we are not going into the market.”
City, who currently hold the record for the world’s most expensive defender after paying Monaco £52million for Benjamin Mendy in the summer, would have few qualms about paying big – but it remains to be seen if Southampton will sell.
With Arsenal and Manchester United also linked, it is clear interest is as high as ever, but Bookmakers believe that Southampton will again win-out and keep van Dijk beyond January.
Unibet’s Alistair Gill told us: “The recent speculation resurfacing on the future of van Dijk with January fast approaching has had two different impacts inside and outside of Unibet. The traders seem insistent that Southampton’s refusal to sell him in the summer indicates he is there for the season; the odds on him being with Southampton after the January window shortening in recent days from 1/2 to 1/5, with moves to rumoured destinations Liverpool (28/17 out to 5/2) and Man City (7/1 out to 11/1) both drifting fairly significantly.
“Punters see it differently however, and in recent weeks the majority of money we’ve seen on this market has come for Man City. It will be interesting to see who is right come January.”