Virgil van Dijk: Manchester City first preference for the Dutch defender


Manchester City and Chelsea are reportedly showing an interest in Southampton defender, Virgil van Dijk, who is expected to leave the club next summer.

The Dutch defender joined Southampton in September 2015 after winning two Scottish Premier League titles with Celtic. The 25-year-old has been in tremendous form this season and has made 15 Premier League appearances for the Saints.

With 2.7 interceptions per game, van Dijk gives the impression that he is very good at reading the game. His rock solid presence at the back is the main reason why Southampton have conceded only five goals at home this season.

According to reports from the Daily Record, the defender is more inclined to work with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City than go to any other club. It has also been reported that van Dijk has a £25m buyout clause in his deal. However, Claude Puel, the Saints manager, has since dismissed the clause, with a new £40m price tag being placed on the defender.

“It is not true [about the £25m buyout clause]. After this, I make no comment about speculation, just to say that Virgil is an important player for the team. For me, it’s not a possibility to see him leave,” said Puel as quoted by the Mirror.

It seems that City are desperate to sign a new centre-back, despite signing John Stones in a £47.5m deal from Everton in the summer. City are expected to remain busy over the next two transfer windows, and are willing to back their manager with as many as four new defenders.

Likewise, Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, is looking to bolster his defence, and van Dijk could be an ideal long term replacement for club skipper, John Terry.

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