Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, has confirmed that he will not be signing Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in the January transfer window.
The Dutch defender joined Southampton from Celtic last year for a fee around £12m, and has quickly established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League. His burgeoning progress has caught the attention of several heavyweight Premier League clubs, and he has been linked with a £50m move to the Etihad in January.
City have struggled defensively this season, with Pep Guardiola’s side managing only three clean sheets in 17 games. The Spaniard wants to bolster his defence, but he reveals that van Dijk is not his primary target, and the only time he will see him is when his side faces Southampton on April 15.
Guardiola said, as quoted by ESPN:
Next month, Van Dijk here? We’re going to Southampton to play against them. He’s not going to come here next month. Impossible.
He’s a Southampton player and we don’t want him now. We’re going to Southampton to play against them, that’s sure.
City have missed the services of their skipper, Vincent Kompany, for much of the season through injury. John Stones, the high profile summer signing from Everton, hasn’t quite flourished at his new club, but Guardiola says he has full confidence in the England international.
With City dropping out of the race for van Dijk, it leaves the door open for Chelsea to put in a bid for the Dutch defender and test Southampton’s resolve. The Blues are keen to sign the defender, but Southampton’s asking price may prove to be a huge stumbling block.