Premier League giants Arsenal and Manchester City look set to battle it out for Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk this summer having spoken to his representatives about a potential transfer, according to The Daily Star.
The 25-year-old defender has had an excellent season at Southampton, although looks set to miss the remainder of the campaign after suffering a nasty ankle injury in their 3-0 victory over champions Leicester back in January.
However, up until that point, the Dutch international was arguably the best centre-back in the division such were his recurrent impressive displays for the Saints, and even in January there was much speculation about whether he would leaves St Mary’s.
No deal materialised for van Dijk in the winter, but Claude Puel and Southampton look set to have a fight on their hands in keeping him over the summer, with it reported that both Arsenal and City have spoken to the Dutchman’s representatives about a move.
Arsene Wenger’s Gunners have struggled at times defensively this season, with summer signing Shkodran Mustafi having a solid if unspectacular start to life in England, and with it arguable that Arsenal have been lacking a van Dijk-type defender for a number of years now.
And City manager Pep Guardiola has seen his City side ship 37 goals in the league this term, and although that is not a staggering number, that is significantly more than leaders Chelsea, chasers Tottenham, and neighbours Manchester United.
Vincent Kompany has been excellent in recent weeks but it remains to be seen whether he has a long-term future under the Spaniard at the Etihad, while both John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have mixed the good with the bad throughout the current campaign.
Ultimately, both of these sides need defensive reinforcements if they are to sustain a title challenge next season, and with Merseyside duo Everton and Liverpool also thought to want van Dijk, they will have a battle on their hands securing the services of the towering Dutch defender this summer.