Virgil van Dijk is one of the best defenders in the Premier League; there are no two ways about it. The Netherlands international has been on the books of Southampton since 2015, and over the past two seasons, he has shown what he is capable of.
Many would have been sceptical of Van Dijk when Southampton signed him from Scottish Premiership giants Celtic in the summer of 2015. It cost the Saints as much as £13 million in transfer fees, but the 26-year-old centre-back has proved to be worth every penny.
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that top clubs in England want to sign Van Dijk in the summer transfer window. Liverpool have been strongly linked with the former Groningen star, who is also reported to be on the radar of Tottenham Hotspur, who finished second in the Premier League last season.
Liverpool could do with a centre-back of Van Dijk’s quality in their quest to finish in the top four for the second successive campaign. As for Spurs, if they bring in the Dutchman, then it would not be a bad idea to take advantage of a £20 free bet bonus and place it on the North London club to win the Premier League title next season at odds of 8/1 – they would become that strong in defence.
Southampton have stated on more occasions than one that they are not planning to sell Van Dijk in the summer transfer window, but every player has his price. A bid of over £40 million should be enough to convince the Saints to part company with the former Celtic star. After all, it is only a matter of time before the Dutchman leaves St. Mary’s Stadium. The 26-year-old’s stock is high at the moment, and it would make sense for Southampton to cash in on him and then bring in maybe a couple of young and promising centre-backs.
The Saints’ model of buying low and selling high has worked for a while now. Southampton took a chance on Van Dijk two years ago, and it worked. Instead of holding onto the defender for one more season, they should now be willing to let him leave this summer. There are plenty of young and promising defenders out there for the Saints to buy on the cheap this summer, develop them and then sell them at a high price in a few years’ time. Even if new manager Mauricio Pellegrino wants an established centre-back, he would still get to buy one with the money from Van Dijk’s sale and still have some change.
Celtic centre-back Erik Sviatchenko would not be a bad signing for Southampton; the 25-year-old Denmark international would come relatively cheap as well. Kieran Tierney is a left-back by trade, but the 20-year-old Celtic star could be moulded into a centre-back. Everton may not be willing to sell Mason Holgate in the summer transfer window, but the Saints could try to sign the 20-year-old, who can operate as a full-back or as a centre-back, on a season-long loan deal.