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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly “weighing up” a £45 million bid for Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk.
According to Graham Read in the Daily Express, Wenger is keen to bolster his defence, and Van Dijk—previously linked with Liverpool—is a potential key target.
Liverpool pursued the 26-year-old heavily at the start of the summer. But they were forced to apologise to Southampton and dropped their interest in the Dutchman after the south-coast club complained to the Premier League for an “alleged illegal approach,” per the Guardian‘s David Hytner.
As a result, Arsenal should have one fewer competitor for Van Dijk’s signature if they decide to make a move for him.
However, Saints will not be willing to let him go easily, as he was arguably the best defender in the Premier League last term before he picked up an injury that ruled him out from January to the end of the season.
Per WhoScored.com, he has produced consistently fine performances in a Saints shirt:
Virgil van Dijk: Has won more WhoScored MotM awards (10) than any other Premier League defender since August 2015 https://t.co/mTb192UvCO
Arsenal had the chance to sign Van Dijk for just £12 million in 2015, but they “stepped back” to allow Southampton to bag him from Celtic, per Read.
He has since proved he has the physicality, concentration and technique required to be an effective Premier League centre-back.
Van Dijk would be a fine addition to Arsenal’s defensive ranks, with Laurent Koscielny currently the Gunners’ only consistently reliable option at centre-back.