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The Daily Mail are reporting that Arsenal are in the race to sign Southampton’s £60m-rated centre-back Virgil van Dijk after he handed in a formal transfer request.
Arsene Wenger is in the market for further reinforcements and most media outlets have been linking us with midfielders and attackers in recent weeks.
However, it seems the boss is also keen to bring in another central defender as the Daily Mailbelieve we are right in the mix to sign van Dijk after he released a strongly worded statement yesterday confirming he’s handed in a transfer request.
The Dutch international has been linked with a move away from St Mary’s all summer and he believes he’s been forced to take drastic measures after the Saints rejected approaches from a number of top clubs.
Van Dijk slammed Southampton for their decision to take disciplinary action against him and has urged the club to negotiate his sale as he wants to play in Europe again.
The defender’s statement read:
‘It is with regret that I can confirm I have today handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton Football Club. Unfortunately I feel I have no alternative after I was given notice of the Club’s intention to impose a disciplinary sanction against me of a fine equivalent to 2 weeks wages.
‘I will be appealing what I feel to be an unjustified sanction and their inability to follow the correct disciplinary protocol in due course.
‘I have been left frustrated by the club’s position that I am not for sale and am disappointed that enquiries from multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed.’
‘I’m an incredibly ambitious and want to achieve as much as I possibly can to fulfill my potential in what is a very short career as a professional footballer,’
‘I want to play European football again and challenge for major honours and as such I would like Southampton to consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist.”
The Daily Mail claim that while Liverpool remain the favourites to sign van Dijk, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City are all ready to battle the Merseysiders for his signature if Southampton decide to sell.
It seems the player has his heart set on Anfield [if you believe the newspapers] but it’s interesting that he says in his statement that he wants to play in Europe and doesn’t specify in the Champions League.
This could perhaps give Arsenal at least some encouragement that we could somehow lure him to the Emirates ahead of our rivals and I hope the club do all they can to secure his signature.
Van Dijk is arguably the best centre-back in the Premier League and he’d be a superb signing as I think another defender should be our main priority during the closing weeks of the window.
Koscielny has dodgy Achilles, Gabriel isn’t consistent enough and is being linked with Valencia, Mertesacker is set to retire next summer and Chambers looks set to leave so as we’re sticking with three at the back, I think it’s vital we get another player in.
However, as much as I’d love to see van Dijk come to Arsenal I think he’ll still end up at Liverpool. The Express claim they are ready to launch their £60m move and it will be difficult for Southampton to resist now that the player has gone public with his transfer request.